If you’re under 18 and looking for ways to make money, freelancing might sound like the ideal choice. However, there are a lot of things to consider when thinking of freelancing as a teenager.
You can be a freelancer if you’re under 18, but the specific laws and regulations surrounding this can vary from country to country. Some freelance platforms also require you to be 18 years old to work on them, and you may face other challenges as a teenage freelancer.
Below, I’ll talk more about the idea of freelancing under 18, talk about the legal aspects of it, and give you some things to consider if you want to go freelance.
Note: This article is for educational purposes only, and it does not constitute legal or financial advice. Always check the laws and regulations of your local area, and consult a professional if required.
Does Freelancing Have An Age Limit?
Freelancing doesn’t have a defined age limit, but clearly there is more to it than that. Many people asking this question may be considering using freelance marketplaces to find work. These are the first places you’ll likely come across age limits.
Freelance Platform Age Limits
For example, Upwork says their minimum age limit for the platform is 18. If the age of majority in your country is older than this, then that’s the one that applies.
Here’s what Fiverr has to say:
“Fiverr’s Terms of Service require that all users be at least 18 years of age and of legal age to form a binding contract. Users under 18 and at least 13 years of age are permitted to use the site only through an account owned by their parent or legal guardian with their appropriate permission. Users under the age of 13 are not permitted to use the site.”
General Freelancing Age Limits
But if you’re not looking to start freelancing on these platforms, there may not be strict age limits as such. Instead, it depends on your local laws and what they say about working under 18. A big concern with this is whether you can enter into legally binding contracts under the age of 18.
This is something you’ll definitely need to consider as a freelancer, and something you’ll need to find out from your local government before entering into any freelance contracts.
You also need to consider whether you can legally operate as a business when you’re under 18. In the UK for example, you can become a sole trader if you’re under 18. However, this might vary depending on where you live, and in the USA for example it can vary from state to state.
There are lots of other aspects to consider, such as whether you’ll be able to get a business bank account. But I’ll talk more about that later.
Can You Be A Freelancer At 16?
You can become a freelancer at 16 (obviously this varies depending on local laws), but there are certain considerations and challenges to keep in mind. One of the main ones as a 16 year old is that you might need your parent or guardian to be involved with certain aspects.
They can help you navigate legalities (like signing contracts), manage finances, and provide guidance as you build your freelancing career.
Should You Try Freelancing At 16?
I’ve seen a lot of people respond to this kind of question in forums with answers like “don’t try to be a freelancer at that age, get a job in a shop instead” or something similar. I think this response, while somewhat reasonable, is a little shortsighted.
I personally didn’t start freelancing until I was in university, at around 22 years old. I did indeed have some part-time jobs before that, one on a construction site, one in a call center, and one in my local shop. I gained a lot of valuable experience in those roles, much of which I’ve used in my freelancing career too.
They teach you life skills, many of which are incredibly useful in day-to-day life never mind for work. But I don’t like the idea of deterring young people from pursuing freelancing if it’s what they really want to do.
If you have a skill, and you want to sell it as a service, it could become a very lucrative career. And it could be well worth starting sooner rather than later. While I can’t be the one to make that decision for you, I can outline some of the most important things you should consider if you plan to become a freelancer as a teenager.
Things To Consider As A Teenage Freelancer
While freelancing can offer you independence and opportunities to pursue your passions, it also comes with responsibilities and challenges. Here are some key considerations:
Legalities & Age Restrictions
First and foremost, you’ll need to navigate the legal aspects of freelancing as a minor. In many countries, including the United States, individuals under 18 are considered minors, which can affect your ability to enter into contracts independently.
Freelancing often involves agreements, client contracts, and financial transactions, which may require you to have legal guardians or parents involved. I’ve already mentioned that above, so I won’t go into more detail here. If you’re in doubt, get in touch with your local authorities to find out what the rules are in your area.
Depending on where you live, there may also be specific regulations regarding employment for minors. Some regions require work permits or limit the hours and types of work that minors can engage in. It’s essential to research the labor laws in your area and ensure that freelancing aligns with these regulations.
Being Transparent Clients
If you do decide to start freelancing under 18, you need to ensure you are explicitly clear with clients from the start that you are a minor. Many clients simply won’t work with anyone under 18, and this is often due to data protection implications.
The number one thing you should not do is pretend to be older than you are. This can mislead clients, void contracts, and get you (and the client) into legal trouble. It is not worth it!
Access To Resources
You also need to consider whether you’ll have access to the resources you need to successfully go freelance. I’ve already mentioned above that many freelance marketplaces don’t allow those under 18 to work on the platform.
But you may also find it hard to set up other accounts, including the likes of business bank accounts. While you might not need a lot to get started as a freelancer, it’s important you understand the implications of your age on the things you do need.
Learning to manage your time efficiently is a valuable skill for freelancers of all ages. But if you’re a teenager, balancing freelancing with your schoolwork and personal life requires a lot of planning and dedication.
I’m a firm believer that your education should come first – in most cases. This can be hard to do when you find something you enjoy and can potentially make money from. Again, I can’t be the one to make any decisions for you, or tell you how much time to devote to it.
Dealing With Rejection & Challenges
Freelancing can be rewarding, but it’s not without its challenges. Rejection from clients or facing difficult projects is part of the journey. But this can be very difficult to deal with if you’re still young and inexperienced in the industry. Especially if you’ve also got other things on like school and of course that all-important social life!
Should You Start Freelancing If You’re Under 18?
Freelancing as a teenager is possible, but it requires careful planning, responsibility, and a willingness to learn and adapt. Whether or not it’s the right path for you will depend on a lot of different factors, and of course what you’re good at and what you want to do with your life.
If you want to learn more about becoming a freelancer, you can check out my article all about the pros and cons of freelancing.