Finding Informal Self-Employment

And guess what? It's only two steps!

1. Decide on what you want to do

You don't have to limit yourself to just one thing. You can house-sit and pet-sit, babysit and tutor, mow the lawn, and shovel snow. There are so many options so sit down and decide which of these things you want to do.

2. Put yourself out there

There are a couple of ways to do this, so here are some of my favorites (bare with me in this long section)

  • Text your neighbors (or even have your parents text them). When I was younger and wanted a babysitting job my mom texted the neighborhood group chat and let the families know that I was looking to babysit if they needed someone anytime. While many families have regular babysitters, every once in a while they need someone else to step in and it's great to have identified yourself as someone close by who can help out at the last minute.
  • Put up flyers. This sounds a bit old-fashioned but trust me, it usually works. I recommend doing the thing where you make the tabs on the bottom of a paper so that people can rip them off and have your information for future reference. Every time I go to a bagel shop near my house I see one of these ads on the community board for a pet sitter/dog walker and the tabs disappeared less than a week after I first saw it.
  • Use Facebook. I know that most teens don't have a Facebook account, or if they do they barely ever use it. Here's the thing though, most adults do still use it. I joined my town's Facebook group a couple of years ago and regularly see local teens post advertising the jobs they are looking for. The post is usually along the lines of:                                                                                                 "Hi all! I'm a local high schooler who loves kids and am looking to babysit around the community! I am energetic, responsible, and very flexible. My number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. Outside of school hours I can respond very quickly and am happy to help out at the very last minute. For more information please reach out to me, I would be happy to talk more and see if I would be the right fit for your family."                                                                                                                                                                        See? That doesn't seem too bad. It took me less than minutes to write this example so think of how easy it would be to actually post one of these! Plus, once you start working for one person/family, they are likely to recommend you to friends nearby, so this is a great way to get your foot in the door.

Although putting yourself out there can be scary, it is totally worth it. Taking the steps to find an informal job is easy and it is really great to work casually every once in a while and make some money.

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Julia Barrow
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