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The final post in my Freelancing with Kids series. If you missed a post, check them out here.
Teenagers. The world seems to hate teens a whole lot, calling them lazy, inconsiderate, and a whole host of other things.
I’m here to tell you that it shouldn’t be that way. Teens can be such a blessing! They can definitely help you with your freelancing efforts.
13 Tips for Freelancing with Teenagers
Note: If you haven’t been utilizing your teen’s awesomeness until now, they may not appreciate you trying to start now. Remember to have patience, and take it slowly.
Your attitude is huge–if you don’t believe in your teen, s/he won’t either!
1. Have them Scour Job Boards for You
Teens usually like using the computer. Put their interest to work for you, by teaching them how to check out job boards for you.
My oldest is 14, and I’m just now teaching her how to do this. Here’s what I’m doing:
- Sitting together and explain what I look for in each post
- Talk about scams and red flags
- Letting her explore a job board while I’m sitting with her
- Showing her how to create an email to me, linking each gig she thought I should investigate into a single email
- Keeping her in the loop of any jobs she found that I apply for, get contacted about, etc.
- Thank her for her efforts
I’m also considering adding a finder’s fee for her, especially as she gets more adept at this process.
I’m a huge fan of paying your children for work they do. Especially when it saves me time!
So what boards are we checking out?
- Contena (I have a subscription and utilize rules to get specific jobs emailed directly to me, but I don’t want to have every category come via email, so she checks on those other categories for me.)
- Freelance Writing Jobs
- Pro Blogger Job Board
I haven’t yet tapped into Craigslist with my daughter, but that’s personal preference. I just think there’s a whole lot more junk on there that she doesn’t need to see yet.
2. Use Their Skills
My daughter has a talent with graphic design. She’s self-taught, but has learned an incredible amount. I’ve hired her to design two logos for me.
Is your teen a great photographer, a talented photo-editor, or quick at coming up with social media content?
Utilize their skills and talents, and help them hone their abilities. It’s a win-win!
3. Encourage Them to Learn
Ensure that your teen has time to devote to learning new skills, or continuing to learn in an area of interest.
Don’t let them waste their free time by always playing video games or watching TV. Put that time to use, helping them gain additional skills and practice.
Even if they don’t always appreciate it, remember that you’re helping them to get an established start in their future. Research estimates it takes 10,000 hours to develop a talent. What better time to dedicate those hours than the teen years when there are no spouses, children, or several other responsibilities to worry about as well.
4. Encourage Your Teen to Start a Blog
Help your child start a blog. You can either use WordPress.com or Blogspot.com for a free blog, or if you already have a hosting plan that includes multiple sites, buy them a domain and let them get started.
Blogging, and writing for the web in general, is an excellent skill to equip your teen with. More and more companies are hiring freelancers to create content, and they need qualified candidates.
Help prepare your teen by teaching them about blogging, image generation, and more.
5. Let Your Teen Job Shadow You
Is your teen interested in launching a freelance career of their own? Have them job-shadow you. Let them observe how you balance work and life, how you pitch, how you write, what you schedule for social media, everything.
Let them ask questions, and answer them honestly.
6. Give Your Teen Household Responsibilities
Make sure your teen has a handle on all basic household chores. At this age, almost all teens are perfectly capable of planning, preparing, and cleaning up all meals in a given day, at least once a week.
They need to learn to take care of themselves before they move out, while you’re still there to help.
Once they’re confident in the kitchen, you’ll have a lot of time to focus on your writing!
Teens also should be able to:
- Clean the bathroom
- Clean their room
- wash, dry, sort, fold, and put away their laundry
- Entertain siblings for a little while
- and much more! Treat them like the young adults they are.
7. Have Your Teen Read Your Work
In addition to basic proofreading, your teen can point out any organization issues your work may have. They can check blog posts in WordPress for any HTML errors, suggest images, and brainstorm more efficient titles.
8. Encourage Your Teen to Read
Pick up books about interests for your teen, and encourage him/her to read daily. Is there a book about freelancing or business that you’re interested in reading?
Consider having a daily reading time, where you both read a chapter of a book that will improve your current skills. Then share what you’ve read.
9. Utilize Your Teen in the Car
You know what’s really nice about having a teen? She can write legibly, and makes a great scribe. I’ve utilized my teen on numerous car trips, asking her to write down ideas that suddenly popped into my head.
She may think I’m a little crazy at times, but it’s nice to get those thoughts recorded. It keeps them from vanishing into my brain!
I’ve also had my daughter read aloud to me, use my cell phone to look up something, and draft a drawing of something.
Once she’s older and driving, I can see that being a benefit too. But right now I’m in denial that driving is only a couple years away, so I’m going to leave that out!
10. Take Time to Enjoy Life with Your Teen
Your teen won’t be home forever. Don’t spend all of your time working. Take breaks, and catch up. Talk about the latest TV show, what they’re learning in Sunday School, or chat about friends.
Enjoy your teen while they’re still around, because one day in the not too distant future, they’ll be doing their own thing.
11.Ensure Your Teen Knows Internet Safety
Teens usually spend more time online than their younger siblings. Ensure that they are solid in their understanding of internet safety.
It’s important enough that it’s worth revisiting frequently!
You may also want to consider investing in a good filter to ensure your teen doesn’t stumble upon inappropriate things while online.
12. Pay Your Teen
As mentioned above, I’m a fan of teaching my kids to work hard for their money. I pay my teen for her services and skills.I also pay her to babysit the younger kids if I need to be out of the house for my job.
It’s only fair. I don’t want to take advantage of my teen!
She’s learning that her work has value. She’s learning that she has something to offer. She’s also learning that she has the potential to develop her own online business someday.
You’re helping your teen develop a portfolio, and getting work done at the same time. I love it!
Now, I don’t pay her for everything. She’s a member of the house, and has certain responsibilities that go along with that.
But, for extra work that she does for me, I pay.
13. Ensure Your Teen Has Time to Spend with Friends or Other Activities of Interest
I try not to schedule all of my teen’s time anymore. She’s growing up, and needs to learn how to manage her time.
I also make sure that she’s able to spend time with friends.
And play favorite games.
And practice piano.
And all those other things that she loves to do.
Let your teen enjoy some time without responsibilities, just to enjoy being a teen!
Are you freelancing with teenagers?
I’d love to hear your best tips! Are you utilizing your teen’s awesomeness as you grow your business?
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.