Can nearly teens really make money?

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I'm almost 13, and I'm a very serious dancer. Also, I love horseback riding, and I have a horse. I am very, very busy. I really need to earn some money for a third horseback riding lesson, but I have six ballet classes a week! I really don't want to sell anything from my driveway. I need a real job that pays well, but I'm only 12! Please help me. I really want to take more horseback riding lessons! Your answer will be very appreciated. Thanks a lot!

Work in Exchange for Lessons

Perhaps you can help your dance teacher teach the littlest kids ballet classes. And perhaps where you ride, they need someone to help the younger kids or groom the horses, even muck out the stalls. Be cheerful, and ask the adults in charge what you can do to either earn some extra money or work in exchange for lessons. I've been a horse owner and rider, and there were always things that needed to be done that could be exchanged for lessons. Perhaps some of the adults who ride and work need their horses turned out when they can't get to the barn or blankets put on/off. If you work hard and are responsible, people will give you an opportunity.
Amy in San Diego, CA

Ask for Lessons for Birthdays and Christmas

For the girl who wants to make money for horseback riding lessons, I would suggest seeking out a barter situation with someone who has horses and is able to teach riding. Since she obviously loves horses anyway, maybe she could do some related chores like shoveling stalls or brushing/grooming the horses in exchange for lessons. Or maybe they just need their house cleaned, their lawn mowed, or their car washed.

At her age, it's probably going to be easier to barter than find some other job to earn that kind of money. Babysitting is one possibility. She could also talk to her parents. Maybe they would pay for lessons as a birthday or Christmas gift and encourage grandparents and other relatives to chip in, too. Or if they're already paying for another activity, ask if she could switch to the riding lessons instead. She might also do extra chores at home. I admire the young lady's determination and resourcefulness, and I'm sure she will find a way to get those lessons.

Gain a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Business

Ask at your dance studio and at the stables if they could use some help. At your age, you can be trusted to sweep, empty wastebaskets, clean mirrors, and perform other housekeeping chores with minimal supervision. You should be able to barter your services for at least one class per week. The trust you earn now will allow you to earn progressively more responsibility, with a commensurate pay raise, as you grow older. As side benefits, you'll gain a behind-the-scenes look at the business, and you won't have to add commute time to another location to your already full schedule.
a former professional dancer

Tutor Other Dance Students

If you're an experienced dance student, maybe you could help a younger student with practice at home. Teaching someone a skill improves your skills because you have to think through all the coordinating movements and mental processes it takes to perform that skill yourself. But if you do work with a child at home, be sure the parent is home and available.
Gay in Portland, OR

Nearly Teens Are in Demand

Where are you? I would hire you in a heartbeat! Seriously, I am an elderly person who constantly needs help and am never able to find anyone who actually wants to work and get paid. Surely, there are others like me!


  • Offer spring cleaning help with house, vehicle, or pool house. You can wash walls, windows, floors, carport, etc., vacuum, sort items to donate, clean closets and cupboards
  • Offer yard cleaning. There is always something else to do even if you have a regular person to mow. For instance, bag leaves quickly before they spread all out again and carry to curb for pickup. Also, you could push stakes in ground and tie up roses, do basic trimming with shears, pick up debris, or spread pine straw and more.
  • Be a mother's helper. I had to hire someone to watch my young child whenever I had some medical procedure and young children were not allowed to come along. Our hospital has a rule that no one under 19 is allowed in unless they, personally, are having tests. So I was not able to get an EKG or ECG there.

So there you have it. Every young mother or older person needs help around the house and yard or with pets. They love nearly teens and early teens because this age group is old enough to follow directions and do a pretty good job, but not old enough to yet work at a regular job.

I have been hiring someone in this age group for many years. The benefits to the teens I hire is that they learn to clean, cook, drive, organize, do crafts, etc. and get to eat or keep the results.

Be Cheerful and Work Hard

I have been steadily employed since I was 12 years old. I took a babysitting class (the Red Cross and Local Parks and Recreation centers usually offer these), and posted fliers around my housing complex. I also told neighbors and friends of my parents that I would like to babysit their children. Other options for young teenagers include dog walking, pet and/or plant sitting for neighbors on vacations, yard work, house cleaning, etc. Since you are active with horses, perhaps the owner of the stables would be willing to trade riding lessons with your working there. Get creative! Find out what work you are willing to do, make a flier, and set out to finding it. Once you get that job, make sure you work hard at it with a good attitude, or you may not keep it for very long. Also, a cheerful, hard worker is likely to be referred to other people for more work.

Start Canvassing Your Neighborhood to Line Up Work

I can sympathize with your desire to earn money for the lesson, and I commend you on your willingness and eagerness to earn the money for this yourself. Being 12 is difficult when it comes to looking for work. Your best bet would be to babysit for neighbors or people your parents know, or find some other job of that nature. When I was your age, I canvassed my neighborhood and began washing cars, walking dogs, weeding yards, etc. for extra cash. I know you have a busy schedule with dance, but you should have some time outside of lessons (how long are they? An hour or two?) in which you can do these things. The longest time involved would be lining up people to work for, but as I found, once I had people willing to pay me to wash their cars, they were willing to let me do it every week. Dog walking can be daily and may only take 15 to 30 minutes depending on how long a walk you take.

Do the Job that No One Else Wants to Do

This may sound less than appetizing, but how about being a "pooper scooper"? This means going to people's houses on a regular basis and cleaning up dog poop in the yard. It takes very little equipment, I've heard that it pays well, and it seems like you could do it around your busy schedule.
Lisa from Ypsilanti

You Don't Need a Job; You Need a Business

Sounds like you don't need a job. Instead, you need a business, something that you can control your own schedule and make some real money. Since you are good at dancing, you might create a "birthday" business where you can teach dance to girl's birthday parties. You might have to create time out, but you could charge $50 to $75 an hour and come teach a dance. Advertise in school papers for elementary schools and churches or get help putting a Craigslist ad up.

Sell Online Option for Nearly Teens

Have you considered selling online? My children wanted to earn some extra money for a family vacation, and with our help, they set up a family eBay account and sold their books, outgrown clothes, toys, and lots of other stuff that they no longer wanted or used. In about three months, they earned $180 off the things that they no longer wanted.

If you don't want to sell your stuff, what about crafting something to sell? I know someone who created monsters using recycled t-shirts and embroidery thread. She earned from $12 to $20 each, and her costs were minimal.

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