When it comes to earning money, 14-year-olds are caught between allowances and "real" jobs. In some states, they might not be old enough to have an employee job, and they might be competing against older teens for traditional "free-lance" jobs such as babysitting and lawn care. Still, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 25 percent of 14-year-olds do manage to work in one setting or another. Where they are eligible work depends largely on state law, but ingenuity and work ethic can mean lucrative opportunities.
Turn to Technology
The widespread availability of computers and Internet has transformed teens' ability to earn a buck. If you're looking to make quick cash, eBay can help you sell just about anything you're willing to part with. Clearing your shelves and closets of video games, DVDs and old toys in good condition can net you anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars.
Online businesses can be easy to operate and can provide a steady income stream. Take an inventory of your interests, experience and skills, and determine what you can offer to set yourself apart. For example, if you have a strong knowledge of pets and pet supplies, you could buy direct from a dealer and resell through your website.
Another technological avenue is an electronic newsletter. If you have a particularly strong knowledge of a subject, you might be able to turn that knowledge into a valuable resource for others. For example, if friends come to you for strategies on video games, consider writing your insight into a newsletter format and sell subscriptions at small rates. Market your new product through social networking sites, via email and by mouth. Publish regularly--weekly or monthly--so that subscribers get what they pay for.
If your handmade jewelry, picture frames or candles are popular with family and friends, chances are they'll be popular with others, too. School and church festivals and craft sales are good places to launch and sustain a craft business, but technology can provide a big boost as well. A simple website or blog can showcase your work, and social networking sites can help spread the word. To learn more about how you can turn your hobby into a profitable business, check out the Craft and Hobby Association's website (craftandhobby.org).
Stick To Tradition
For decades, babysitting and lawn care have provided spending money for 14-year-olds. Their downside is that they can be sporadic and, in the case of lawn care, seasonal. However, families and homeowners who hire these services might need your help with related jobs. A woman with young children might need assistance in planning and executing a birthday party, or--as holidays approach--with getting the house ready for guests.
If you mow lawns and cut shrubs, you might also have an interest or experience in gardening. Homeowners often need help planting bulbs or tilling gardens, two tasks that aren't restricted to spring and summer. You might also fill a demand for cut flowers. The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ascfg.org) can provide guidance on launching a cut-flower business.
Brainstorm jobs that your "customers" would be likely to hire someone for, and seize those opportunities.