As a Teen, I can say I would like to participate, learn and most importantly, work as early as possible. But here comes a dilemma.

In freelancing or even outsourcing, most company pays using credit cards, or even have this age barrier.

Is it possible for a teen / underage be working "part-time" in an online outsourcing work, and earn?

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can not legally be bound by contract as a minor. (At least in the United States)

You have not indicated the type of work you are seeking. This may play a large roll. In some cases, teenagers, close to legal age may be permitted to work legally with a guardian's permission. That does not mean you can enter a contract or that your guardian may enter a contract for you. But you may be able to work.

For example, you could get "freelance" work as a landscaper, or painter, or anything which is more "one-off" type of work.

I imagine you are asking about "online outsourcing" because you have something specific in mind. Without discussing what that specific is, it's difficult to answer.

Freelancing, as in agreeing to work and the client agreeing to pay, IS a contract. Any "freelance" web site is going to want to hold you to their contract terms.. as a minor, they can't. So, they won't be interested in working with you.

In general clients in the technical realm, i.e. coding, app building, etc - who are actually paying for work, don't want an underage teenager working on things most of the time. There's a level of liability if things break. They can wreak havoc on other systems or products. Building something digitally isn't the same as more craftsman or manual type of work. I realize you may have a wide range of skills and may feel you are very adept at some things, but there's no possible way a 16 or 17 year old can have even 2 years of accurate, real-world, experience. Let alone someone younger. I don't wish to offend you but, you don't know what is you don't know regardless of how capable or talented you think you are. Situations and complications arise in technical projects which can only be overcome through experience.

Stick with getting work from family/friends or word of mouth. You honestly won't be considered for better clients related to digital work unless you lie and hide your age and lack of experience. And note that purposefully hiding such information could be equated to fraud and make you liable. But, I'm not a lawyer.

  • To add, use the time before you're an adult to a) be a kid, and b) get your skills up. This also includes building a portfolio so that when you're an adult, you can show that you've been doing the work you prescribe to be doing for a long time. – Canadian Luke Jul 12 at 16:49
  • @CanadianLuke " a) be a kid" lmao, it got me bad, but at the same time, i'm a little pissed xD Some "kid" nowadays cant be kids that you usually. Because, as a kid, we would want a lot of things, like a new Graphics for rendering videos, CPU for doing complicated processes. But parents wont, and cant buy these things, making the "kid" try to get it on his own. Sometimes, a kid could surpass a work adults do, because they're creative in their own ways. (But it doesn't mean every kid is) Last thing is, working is also counted as "get your skills(or exp)" which you can write in your CV. – Sazeim Saheem Jul 12 at 19:03
  • To add more, yes, in america, underage's are not legally bound, but is there's a way, that you can work under a name of parent, or an adult friend, so that you can earn? In some country in the world, kid can be allowed to work "Part-time", and for sure they need skill for the work. Which is why I am asking, if you have the skill, is it possible to get a work "freelance" (Because obviously, you can't work full time) . – Sazeim Saheem Jul 12 at 19:09
  • @SazeimSaheem I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend. There are obviously differences in our cultures/countries. If you want me to, I can delete that comment and re-write it fresh – Canadian Luke Jul 12 at 20:28
  • No need... You're opinion about this matter is not wrong after all ;) @CanadianLuke – Sazeim Saheem Jul 14 at 8:24

21 years ago I was in your predicament. I was 15 years old. My two friends were 14. We were all computer geeks. I suggested we start a company catering to small businesses and individuals providing web development, computer repair and desktop publishing services.

I got us some clients here and there and they all paid us with bank checks. Even back then when banks were a little more lenient it was no mean feat to cash those checks as a minor with no bank account or even a picture ID. My home state doesn't give out ID or junior driver licenses until your 16 years old.

I also inquired about merchant accounts at the age of 15. You need one to accept a credit card. Paypal is really just a merchant account.

I went to many banks until I got to HSBC and the banker was nice enough to sit me down and really explain why I wouldn't want the responsibility of one even three years down the line when I turned 18. Long story short, a credit card user can force a charge back and your money can be clawed back 6 months after the transaction. Get too many charge backs and the bank will close your merchant account.

What I wish I knew at 15 was the concept of corporations and business agents. I didn't find out about this until I was old enough not to need it.

You go to a trusted business lawyer and have them setup a corporation on your behalf. They will also double as your registered agent. So any official legal documents would be sent to them.

Then get a second adult you trust. This person will be your project manager, sales rep, talk to the adults person. They will also be the one who opens the corporate bank account. They can also sign up for paypal, stripe or square to process credit card payments.

Yes I lost customers in high school due to our age.

Then you would be paid as either a self employed freelancer or employee, check with your accountant on what's the best way to save on taxes and how it would impact your parent's taxes.

For online websites like freelancer.com, affiliate programs, advertising accounts etc.. If they don't ask for your age and offer paypal as a payment option as far as I remember, you can open up an unverified personal paypal account and purchase $500 a month worth of things with it.

That or request payment in cryptocurrencies like ethereum. As far as I know there are no age restrictions on opening up a crypto wallet.

But most places online won't let you register because you're too young to sign a legally binding agreement.

I hope this helped. I used the three years until I became a legal adult to hone my skills and learn about business management, bookkeeping, cashflow and promotion. The biggest mistake I made as a 15 year old was not making a business lawyer my first stop.

You can also see if there's a SCORE chapter where you live. They can really help out with this kind of stuff like recommending a lawyer or accountant..

  • Oh, great! Thanks for the info, but I don't really get what is this "SCORE chapter" you're talking about. .-. – Sazeim Saheem Sep 9 at 4:51
  • score.org they are an organization that can help with your question in more detail. They provide business mentoring for people in america. – Lid Sep 9 at 23:46

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