Young people dread one question — what do you want to do for a living? Although it’s a fairly simple question, the reaction is normal. Because, like most of us at that age, they don’t know. To answer it they would have to combine knowledge about available and accessible careers, their interests and personality traits as well as information about the skills required to launch such a career.
Today, most teens and young adults who complete their education, have higher qualifications than previous generations. Unlike their parents and grandparents, they have spent more years as part of the education system. While this achievement is a win for global education, it’s not enough. Despite being equipped with knowledge and skills, young people still struggle to find jobs and pursue careers once they leave education. Not only are young people unable to meet the critical needs of employers but many are without the necessary skills to work independently to fill gaps in the marketplace. The skills gap stems in large part from the workings of an education system that was robust in the 19th Century but has just been tinkered with at the edges ever since. Society functions differently today and life requirements are different. It seems as though academic success and higher education don’t necessarily guarantee better job opportunities and working conditions in the Digital Era.
This inability to get a job and gain financial independence can have a serious impact on teenagers mental and physical health. UCL conducted a study that revealed that being young and unemployed doubles the odds of experiencing mental health problems. Many youth centres offer young people help in overcoming their issues. Through coaching and mentoring, many are able to discover the huge array of non-traditional jobs available to anyone with a smart phone or a laptop as well as uncovering their hidden talents and unlocking their potential.
Gen Z and their Aspirations
The generation born between 1996 and 2012, commonly known as Generation Z, have grown up in a highly advanced technological era. For obvious reasons, the rapid progress of technology doesn’t come as a surprise to them and for many is shaping their expectations and aspirations about work and career opportunities. Gen Zs are open to new possibilities and alternatives to traditional work. Working from nine to five and doing the same job until they retire is no longer their cup of tea. For this reason, they are looking into other options such as freelancing (or gigs), setting up online businesses or making a living on platforms such as IG, FB, Twitter, Shopify to name a few. It may surprise some that these alternatives to traditional careers can also meet other needs such as
- Opportunities for professional growth and development
- Work-life balance
- Interaction and collaboration
According to the results of a survey conducted by IMB and NRF, Gen Z spends around 74% of their time on the Internet. Dell came to a similar conclusion with their analysis which claims that almost 80% of people of this generation want to work surrounded by inventive technology. That is why the web is the ideal alternative to more traditional work concepts. There are no geographical boundaries and young people can treat the world as one large marketplace instead of being constrained to one market.
Many are of the opinion that online gigs represent the future of work for the majority of young adults as it allows more flexibility, in many cases does not require financial investment, is easy to access, and does not require as much commitment in time terms as traditional careers. During lockdown people have been forced to work from home and even in these trying times, with the help of technology like Zoom and Teams, many companies have not only managed to stay afloat but have thrived. For now and into the foreseeable future online jobs are here to stay, whether as a means to earning some extra money or making a full-time regular income remains to be seen.
How Can Young People Earn Money Online?
No matter whether young people want a steady income or extra money, the Internet has got them covered. In the digital era, there are literally hundreds of opportunities to earn money online. Some may require more skills and time investment than others but everyone can find something that aligns with their interests and skillset. What most of these jobs have in common is flexibility as well as the fact that they can be easily combined with other jobs. Here are some suggestions.
Do you like to take photos? Do you have a good camera? Do you live in an area with great landscapes and landmarks? If the answer is yes, then you should definitely consider making a career or a side-hustle from your hobby. There is a large demand for all kinds of pictures. Getty Images, Pexels, or Pixabay are famous stock photography repositories. Teens can create an account on any database and upload their pictures. This way freelancers, magazine editors, or anyone in need of editorial pictures can buy them. The best part is that there are no restrictions regarding how many times one picture can be sold. So it’s possible to continue to earn money from a select number of excellent photos.
Teaching a Foreign Language
English, German, French, Mandarin, or Spanish are considered the top five languages everyone wants to learn right now. If a teen is a native speaker of any of these languages, they can generate regular income online. This is especially true for English. There are numerous online schools across the world hiring teachers of English as a Second or Foreign language (ESL/EFL). Most schools look for native or fluent speakers of English to teach Chinese, Taiwanese, or Korean children and adults. Salary varies from school to school and it largely depends on the number of classes taught as well as on the time spent working as a teacher at the specific school. Classes usually last 20 to 25 minutes and the teachers are provided with the material in advance. All they need for this job is a stable and fast internet connection, web camera, earphones, and a microphone.
Social Media Marketing
According to an article by the Mayo Clinic, social media forms an integral part of teenagers lives. A survey carried out by the Pew Research Centre in 2018, found that of 750 13-17 year olds, 97% used social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook. Gen Zs because of their lifelong exposure to the internet understand marketing before receiving any formal marketing training. They know how social media works as consumers so can reverse engineer what it is that grabs the attention, gets the clicks and makes the sale. Today these platforms form a large part of most companies´ marketing strategies and many young people have very lucrative careers doing sales and marketing for online companies.
The Internet offers plenty of opportunities for tutoring and not every platform requires formal teaching qualifications. Teens have to recognize which school subject is their strong suit and then search the Internet to find the best platform for offering services and showcase their talent. Clients who are satisfied with the service can provide testimonials which can be used for marketing purposes (a handy tip for anyone starting out). All they have to do is spread the word and in return, they can get a discount for the next tutoring session. This is a great way for attracting new customers and increasing profit.
Translating and Proofreading
Teens that are fluent in a language other than their native language might find translating and interpreting jobs interesting. These services are always high in demand as people from all around the world need documents interpreted and translated for them. The fact that this can be done remotely from the comfort of your home is an advantage. Luckily there are numerous how-to videos available on the Internet to master the format (you must be fluent in the target language first). As well as translating and interpreting, young people can use their language proficiency to proofread translations or any content pieces. Proofreading is a fairly lucrative business. Agencies usually pay about 25% of the fee paid to the translator for the document. Young people who decide to pursue a career in this field have to be detail-oriented, systematic, and meticulous.
This is a small selection from a wide range of jobs young people can do online to earn money either as a side hustle or as a full-time career. It’s important to remember that, except in rare circumstances, there is no get rich quick scheme that magically provides millions of pounds overnight. It takes hard work to build a successful career whether online or offline. You need 3 things to do it well: a great product or service, a strategy to ensure buyers see the product or service you’re offering (similarly if you want to work for Big Tech, you need a strategy to ensure the employer knows what you’re offering) and another strategy to give them a good reason to buy what you’re offering. It may take eighteen months plus to turn a profit (or find a job) so expectations must be managed to avoid falling at the first hurdle. Online jobs that will make you money immediately do exist. They’re not hugely profitable but over time you can use your craft to build followers, make a name, have a voice and this will eventually help you to make more money.
So you see there are lots of opportunities to make money thanks to the internet and internet business is thriving. Many online business have increased their margins tenfold during the Pandemic. Don’t believe everything you read in the media about a lack of jobs and a lack of prospects for young people. If you have a desire to succeed and add value and you’re willing to jump down the rabbit hole, there are more opportunities than anytime in history to make money. Check out Making Millions, How ordinary teens can become seriously high earners, due for release on Amazon in early 2021.
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