Matt, with his entrepreneurial mindset, has often encouraged the kids to come up with ways to generate their own cash, but without the significant stimulus that this new allowance scheme might provide, our suggestions either haven’t been taken up or have withered fairly quickly. In the few days before we sat down to talk about the new allowance we got a flier in the mail look for new walkers for letterbox distribution. I know, right?! It’s like Inception. And the timing! It was as though the screenwriter for our lives was looking for a way to foreshadow what was about to come. So, why don’t we start with that:
1. Letterbox distribution
When we mentioned the opportunity to Mr13, he was keen, even without us provoking fake enthusiasm. Our flier supplier drops off a box of 1000 leaflets and the typical job takes 3-4 hours to complete. It depends on fitness and density of housing around where you live. If your leaflet people know what they’re doing, they’ll make sure you’re assigned a delivery area that you actually live in. In our case, the base rate is $40 for 1000 fliers per 1000 houses. If we get an extra piece or two per house, the rate can go up to $50. So, you’re looking at roughly $10/hour, but you can get exercise, some fresh air, and you can listen to your tunes while you’re out and about. Our leaflet guy has a few kids doing leaflet drops, often with parents accompanying.
Mr13 has done this gig once across three shifts of 1-1.5 hours each, and Matt went along for the first shift. He left the “no junk mail” letterboxes alone, and found a couple of sets of apartments with accessible letterboxes, allowing him to knock off up to 350 in one complex. The metric you want is letterboxes per step. If that’s high, you’re winning. We’ll call for another box-load in a week or so, because Mr13 went away on holidays, just after he finished his flier run.
Mr13 can play a bunch of musical instruments, guitar being one of them. He’s done a couple of busking sessions, at our urging, and wasn’t too enamoured with it. He said it was boring. We made the mistake of setting him up in a quiet end of the street, when it would have been best to throw him in the deep-end, further down, where more of the foot traffic is. More money may have meant more enthusiasm. Nonetheless, in 1.5 hours on a Sunday morning, he made $15. To go into the busier areas, you may need a permit, but it’s only about $10 in our council area. It’s well worth it, if you live close enough to those busking hotspots.
3. Selling herbs and stuff
If you’re lucky enough to live where your back or front gate are on a thoroughfare, your kids could hit the jackpot just by selling herbs from the garden. We have friends who’ve done exactly that. Their kids have funded entire LEGO sets with the money they made from selling herbs, and even their own paintings, at their back gate on market days. People walk by to go to the markets and can’t not buy a bunch of rosemary from a little kid. These same kids have now upgraded to busking inside the markets.
4. Food delivery
Believe it or not, Deliveroo don’t have a minimum age requirement for the food delivery workers. As long as you can get your teenager an ABN and insurance, they’re good to go. They’ll need some stamina to ride their bicycle around with the insulated backpack, and they’ll need the confidence of riding around the neighbourhood, but if your teen has those attributes, then they might like this option. Until the drones take over, I reckon this will be a common first job for older teens and young adults.
5. Become a YouTuber
OK, so this is something my kids have both wanted to be. I’ve given them plenty of encouragement and guidance about how to stand out in a crowded marketplace, but they’re consumers, not producers. So far. As fanciful as it sounds though, it can certainly be a source of substantial income, just like this kid I saw on telly the other night. Her YouTube channel has become so successful her dad quit his day job to be her full time movie editor and social media assistant. This is a long game, though, so be prepared to put the work and the research in, and probably, the hardware investment.
I’d be glad to add more first jobs to this list. If your kids have some experience and recommendations, let us know in the comments.
Check the rules in your state about minimum ages and restrictions. If you’re in Australia, start here.