9 Simple Ways a Teenager Can Make Money on Instagram


Instagram is one the most popular social media platforms out there today.

Founded in 2010, Instagram has grown its user base to over 1 billion monthly active users. Impressive stuff.

Like a lot of social media channels, teens love Instagram. In a 2019 study done by Piper Jaffray, it was reported that Instagram was the preferred social media platform of 85% of teens.

But why? Well, there are a lot of reasons.

For one, the algorithm is stupid addicting.  If you watch a two minute video on golf, you can be sure your explore page will be flooded with amazing golf content for months to come. 

But here’s another reason why teenagers love Instagram – they can make money on the platform, and in some cases, a lot of it.

But how exactly would a teenager make money from Instagram? I’m glad you asked. Here are 9 easy ways a teenager can make money on Instagram.

Become an Instagram Affiliate Marketer

Using Instagram to become an affiliate marketer can be a great way to make money as a teenager.

Why? Because the great thing about affiliate marketing is that you don’t have to deal with things like shipping products, refunds, angry customers, product development etc. 

In other words, the only thing you have to worry about is getting your followers to buy the product you’ve decided to promote.

Here is how it works, you sign up with an affiliate program (Shareasale, CJ Affiliate, Clickbank), find products you wish to promote, include the unique link throughout your Instagram account and then whenever someone makes a purchase using your link, you’ll get a cut of the revenue.

These links can be included in your bio, your story (swipe up  – 10k plus followers needed) or even in your posts.

While urls in your post won’t be clickable, if your followers like the product you are promoting, it won’t take too much effort to copy and paste it.

If you have a healthy amount of followers, this can be a great option for you as it is very scalable. 

If you get a ton of sales, that’s great, but what’s even better is that you’re not responsible for filling the orders and managing the customers, you’ve done your job, just collect your checks and find more products to promote.

Quick Note #1 - Be careful not to be spammy and make sure you put out more genuine content then you do promotional.

Sell Shoutouts to Other Accounts

An easy way to make money via Instagram as a teenager is to simply sell shoutouts to other Instagram accounts that are looking to grow in popularity.

In order to do this though, you’ll need to have a popular Instagram account yourself, whether it’s your personal account or another account you’ve created, it doesn’t really matter – but it needs to have influence.

For example, I have a personal account where I post pictures of myself with friends and family – but that account only has a small following that I would never try to monetize. 

But I also own other Instagram accounts that are not directly related to my name. These accounts are related to things like sports and finance. 

These are the accounts that I sell shoutouts on as they each have each over 10,000 engaged followers.

So when new small accounts are starting out in a similar industry to my accounts, they look to grow a targeted audience and will reach out to my non-personal accounts for paid shoutouts. 

A shoutout is basically just a promotion of another Instagram account via a post or a story. The shoutout will usually include something like “Go checkout {account username} for great content on {subject name}.”

If your account is big enough you won’t have to go looking for shoutout opportunities, they’ll find you – trust me. Just make sure you keep an eye out on your direct messages, that’s where you’ll most likely find inbound requests.

The amount you make from a shoutout really depends on how many followers you have, but I’ve made up to $100 per shoutout even for some of my smaller 10k follower accounts.

Quick Note #2 - Shoutout rates can often be determined by the length of time the post stays up on the account for. For example, you could charge more for leaving the shoutout on your feed for 24 hours as opposed to 12 hours.

What I love about shoutouts is that they’re easy. You don’t have to own any type of website, have a million followers or do any crazy outbound marketing efforts.

You just make one simple post about another similar account and get paid for it. I recommend receiving the payment first before doing any type of promotion, but that’s just me.

Buy and Sell Accounts 

Buying and selling Instagram accounts is probably the quickest way you can make money on Instagram as a teenager.

I’ve done this plenty of times, and trust me – it is not hard and your profits can be huge.

I talked about this method pretty extensively in my article 9 Easy Ways to Make Money Without Owning a Business but I’ll go through it again here now.

Here’s what you do. 

Find Instagram accounts that have a large following but haven’t posted in a while – this is usually a good indication that the current owner has moved on from this account.

Send them a DM and ask them if they’d be interested in selling the account. If they respond, more times than not they will be open to selling it as they had no use for the account anymore, so why not make a few dollars on it.

Once you buy the account, you can do one of two things. Try and sell it immediately for a profit, or you can start posting on it, re-engage the followers and then sell it.

Option two is what I’d recommend. Buyers don’t want Instagram accounts that are completely dead, they want to see some activity and engagement.

Not only that, but you’ll also be able to sell an active Instagram account for more money than one that has dust blowing off it.

To promote the fact you are selling the account, I recommend making a story about it. Nothing fancy, just “Account for Sale, DM if interested.”  You’ll get a ton of interest, so just make sure you get the best deal!

I use Paypal for the transaction. Also, as the seller, I only send the account username and password once I receive the money. I’ve been scammed more than one time, money first! 

As the buyer though, you’ll have to take a bit of a risk as you’ll be the one having to pay first. If you have a bad feeling about the seller, back out. There are more than enough accounts out there looking to be sold, find a reputable seller.

Promote Small Local Businesses on Your Page

As a teenager, growing your Instagram account to millions of followers, or even hundreds of thousands can be very difficult. 

But here’s the thing, you actually don’t need that many followers on Instagram to make some solid coin.

If you can create an Instagram account with a very niche audience that is located in one general area of the world, local businesses in that area will be lining up to get promoted on your account.

Okay so hear me out. Here’s what you do.

Say you live in New York City.  Make an Instagram account that has something to do with NYC. 

For example,”Restaurants of NYC”.

Again, I am speaking off the top of my head – but you get the point. A page like this would consist of photos of fancy dishes from restaurants, maybe a photo of the cool drink menu or whatever! You get the point!

Build a page like this up to a few thousand followers and then look to monetize it. 

Here’s the best part, you could literally spend a week going to every single restaurant in NYC and probably pick up 50 clients just like that.

Say you’ll do a post a week for 12 months for a cost of $2,000. Get 10 clients like that and bang, you’re making some great income.

Again, Im just using NYC restaurants as an example, but I’m you get the point.

A bit of up front work is required for this option, but once you get your followers you have them, now get some clients and you’ve got yourself a nice little side hustle.

Sell Your Old Stuff

Selling your old stuff on Instagram is probably the easiest way you can make money on the platform.

Why? Well you actually don’t need a large following at all and you don’t need to create a separate account, just use your personal one.

Look around your house for old things you own that you never use anymore but still hold value.

Old headphones, clothes, shoes, electronics, workout equipment, siblings laptops (joke) etc. It doesn’t matter – if you can take a picture of it you can sell it.

Use your Instagram account as a personal online second hand marketplace (what a mouthful).

I’d recommend promoting your old things in your story as opposed to posting pictures. That way people who view your story can easily DM you back and enquire about the item – and it’s a little less spammy. 

This is so easy. No links, no crazy accounts, no complicated online marketing hacks. Just post a picture of something you want to sell and wait for some offers to come in.

The downside of this is that everyone only has so much stuff they can sell, so unlike the affiliate marketing option for example, selling your old things on Instagram has a ceiling of how much money can be made. 

So yeah, you might not get filthy rich from this option but you can certainly make quick, easy legitimate cash from doing it.

Work with Brands on Sponsored Posts

Sponsored posts are one of the most popular ways teenagers make money on Instagram today. 

Put simply, brands pay Instagrammers to make sponsored posts about a product or service they sell.

If you spend much time on Instagram at all, you’ve seen these posts. 

Celebrities do it often, some do it too often (Cough Kardashian Cough).

Jokes aside, I get it and I personally don’t mind seeing people making sponsored Instagram posts – everyone is trying to get paid, and there is nothing wrong with that.

The downside of this option is that you’re likely going to need a huge following or a very engaged audience in a niche market.

Brands that approach influencers for sponsored posts want to see a return on their investment. In other words, they want to generate more revenue from the post than they paid for it.

So trust me, brands aren’t giving away money for free, your account has to hold some real value, but if it does, you can be sure you’ll be approached by some reputable companies to collaborate on some sponsored posts.

The great thing about sponsored posts is that you’ll usually get paid upfront before making the post. The effectiveness of your post won’t determine how much money you make (usually).

If you feel your account is valuable enough to do sponsored posts for brands but you’re not getting approached, go after them yourself! 

Make phone calls, send emails and DMs – there is so much opportunity out there, sometimes you have to go grab it.

Provide Instagram Marketing Services for Small Businesses

Here’s one you might not have thought of yet. And it’s probably my favorite option yet – and you don’t even need your own Instagram account to make money from it!

People are making HUGE money from running Instagram marketing companies, so why can’t you?

Yes, as a teenager you’ll have school and possible part time work responsibilities, but there is no reason you can’t start your own small marketing business and focus solely on Instagram marketing.

Believe it or not, most small businesses in your community don’t have Instagram accounts for their business – which is shocking I know.

A lot of them don’t want to hire someone in house to do this, but they also can’t be bothered to do it themselves, so they just neglect it all together.

Go to dentist offices, restaurants, golf courses, coffee shops, you name it – there is a huge opportunity for you here.

Charge a couple a couple hundred dollars per month and offer to take their entire Instagram marketing over for them. If they don’t have an account yet, make one for them, make daily or weekly posts, generate followers, and generate customers for them at scale.

Quick Tip #3 - Create a small one page document that you can send or bring to small business owners when you are making your pitch. You don’t have to wear a suit but look presentable.

Your youth will work in your favour here. Once you get one client on board, you’ll be hooked. 

Treat every business as a potential client but avoid large corporations like Starbucks and Mcdonalds. 

I’ve tried selling to these guys, it’s a waste of time.

Sell Online Courses on Your Page

Have you ever considered selling an online course through your Instagram account? 

Teenagers who don’t have time to run a full time business online often sell online courses through their page and make a killing.

This method is very scalable and can be very lucrative.

This is how you do it. 

  1. Create an Instagram account that relates to a topic you wish to develop a course in.

For example, if I planned on selling an online course called “Improve Your Ball Handling Skills in Basketball”  then I would create an Instagram account all to do with basketball.

  1. I’d grow the account to at least over 10k followers, focus on the growth on the instagram account first.
  1. Once the account surpasses 10k followers – start developing the online course while still  posting regularly on your account.
  1. Once you are satisfied with your course, promote it on your account through the stories and posts and MAKE SOME SALES!!

That’s the gist of it. I realize this is a high level overview but that’s about it really. Create an account, get followers, make a killer course and promote it on your account.

If you sell your course to .5% of your followers and the course costs $50, which is quite reasonable, you’re earning $2500 from one course. 

Not bad money for a teenager, and these are consertvative numbers as long as your followers are legit. 

Imagine the income you can make if you 10x that follower base and 5x your price.

This is where the money is made, but again, this won’t happen overnight. But real money doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time. 

Open an E-Commerce Store and Promote Your Products

Teenagers can also make money from Instagram by creating their own online store and promoting their products on their account. 

Instagram also now has an Instagram Shopping feature that allows certain business Instagram accounts to actually connect their store to their Instagram account which makes the buyer experience much smoother for their followers. 

I’m sure you’ve seen it by now, but I will include an image below to show you exactly what I am talking about.

(Photo Credit –  thestartupscene.me)

Now I’ve personally done this myself before, but I didn’t have huge success with it.

I think partially it’s because my followers were not very engaged, and I was just trying to make a quick buck, I wasn’t that committed to it. 

But trust me, just because it didn’t work for me, that doesn’t mean it can’t work for you if you do it the right way (opposite of how I did it).

The setup process is a little annoying but it’s not bad. I will include an instructional link to it here if you want to check it out.

If you are going to sell physical products online, I recommend using the dropshipping method. 

That way you can test out a whole host of different products without having to buy any inventory whatsoever. 

This is different from affiliate marketing because you’ll actually be promoting your own products and not other brands. 

So yeah, you will have a little more responsibility to your customers, but you can also make a lot more money as you’ll retain 100% of the revenue as opposed to just a cut.

And if you choose to use the dropshipping method, it too is a pretty hands off method of e-commerce.

I’ve included a video here below that goes a little more into dropshipping if you’re unsure how it works.

Similar to affiliate marketing and sponsored posts, you’re going to need a large group of engaged followers to make money selling your own products online.

But it certainly can be done, but don’t take it from me! 

Conclusion

Okay young entrepreneurs, that’s it for now.

I am so glad you read this article and I hope you learned a thing or two along the way.

If you’re overwhelmed by all the different options, just choose the one you liked the best and run with that.

Some of these are more advanced than others, so choose wisely. If I can do it in my early twenties, you can do it in your teenage years (I’m not that smart)

If your teacher catches you flipping accounts in class and gets mad, I apologize in advance. You can blame it on me.  #sorrynotsorry!

Geek, out.

Noel

Noel is the founder and main contributor for his blog - Noel's passion for personal finance has helped him amass over 600k readers to his Financial Geek blog.

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