Making money and operating your own business sounds like something only grownups can do, but this definitely isn’t the case. With the right idea and some motivation to succeed, kids and teens can become entrepreneurs too. (Hint: For those among you who admire the entrepreneurial spirit and have children, this may be a fun article to send their way.)
Since it’s not always easy to come up with ideas, this guide will help you get started with some business options that are easy to run from your home and can make you money.
Successful Teens and Kids
How can a young person succeed in business when there’s so much competition? You have a different way of looking at the world than adults, which means you understand your generation better and may be able to come up with ideas that an adult could never think of. Get inspiration from these successful kids and teens that started out just like you:
Now a famous entrepreneur, Farrah started out by selling body lotion at the age of six. He learned enough about running a business to start his own specialty food company at the age of 13, along with companies that sold prepaid phone cards. He was also the producer of a Vegas comedy show. Farrah became a millionaire at 14. He is now a bestselling author and speaker, giving advice on business and education.
Ashley enjoyed making fun layouts for the social-networking site MySpace, and at 14, she created a site to share her designs. She eventually started creating templates for millions of visitors, offering them free layouts while selling ad space on the site.
She was offered $1.5 million for her company in 2006, but turned it down. She now works as a freelance designer and writer.
Syed started his first business at seven, selling holiday cards. As he got older and developed an interest in the internet, he created various software programs and websites, eventually founding WPBeginner, the web’s largest free WordPress help site at the time. He currently gives advice on social media and website content.
At the age of 12, Savannah became the world’s youngest magazine publisher. Her magazine, Girlpez, covers popular events and interviews of people from pop culture. She is now 18 and still operates the magazine, in addition to designing fashion lines and working in public relations.
At the age of eight, in her parents’ kitchen, Abbey saw a need for a better way to get rid of bacon grease. Her dad joked about letting the bacon “drip dry,” and it inspired Abbey to design the Makin’ Bacon dish that lets bacon hang as it cooks. Together they created a company and sold their product to Walmart, selling 100,000 units in just the first order.
Business Ideas for Young People
You don’t need a lot of money or experience to start your own business. Getting started in business often doesn’t require more than a good idea and a little hard work. Do you have a special interest in a certain hobby or a unique talent that you could share with others? Remember, even if your hobby or skill seems unimportant to adults, your interest may be very important for a lot of other people too (Ashley Quall’s parents probably never imagined that MySpace designs would make her so much money!).
If you are interested in starting your own business, begin by talking to people. Try to figure out what they want and, even more importantly, what they need. Once you find something that people need, figure out how to fill that need. For example, if your neighborhood gets snowed-in regularly, some of your neighbors may need help shoveling their driveways. Do you have an eye for designing Facebook cover pictures for friends? Think about selling this service to others.
Here are some other potential ideas to get you started:
- Make something useful, and sell it to others. This could be something beautiful, like jewelry or crafts, or something useful, like bookmarks, coasters or scarves. Think about things that your friends want and how you could make it even better. For example, teenage entrepreneurs Emily Matson and Julianne Goldmark designed a new hair-tie that didn’t pull your hair, and their ties got so popular that they started a successful company called Emi-Jay. You can start by selling to people you know, at craft fairs or at local shops. If people love your creations, you can try to sell them through online marketplaces like Etsy.
- Go above and beyond the traditional lemonade stand, and sell homemade food. You can start a cooking or baking business, or even plant a garden and grow seasonal fruits or vegetables. You can then sell your food at your own stand, at special events, or you can even offer to cook food for busy families who don’t want to buy fast food. You can even sell your homemade food as part of a “gift basket” or “home-delivery dinner gift” during the holidays, which are unique gifts that relieve your costumers of the pain of buying and wrapping their own unique gifts.
- If you are the go-to person for computer help, think about starting a computer-repair or tutoring business. You can use your talents with technology to help others and make money.
- Consider babysitting, pet sitting, dog walking, lawn mowing, landscaping, housekeeping, tutoring or a general errand service. These are services almost anyone can provide, and your neighbors or parents’ friends will often be happy to give you the job instead of hiring a service. Ask your neighbors if they need a date-night sitter, or post fliers advertising your local errand service. If you plan to work with children, consider getting CPR and AED certified to show you’re prepared in case of emergency.
- Think about your online options. If you are creative, enjoy designing or even programming, you can develop design templates for blogs. This requires a lot of experience and knowledge, but it can really pay off if you find your niche. Remember that most internet trends start with teenagers, so think about the websites or games that are popular amongst your friends and how you can improve their experiences.
Once you come up with an idea, you need to promote your plan. You can tell friends and family, distribute fliers in your neighborhood or at a local business, put an ad in the newspaper or even share on social media (if you’re old enough for an account). Start with people you know, and then be brave and look for new customers. People will want to help you, so don’t be shy about asking around.
Once you get your first few customers, you will need to continue to work hard and prove to customers that your service or product is worth paying for. Your best marketing tool in the beginning will be word-of-mouth and referrals from happy customers, so be sure to focus on making them happy. Running your own business isn’t always easy, but it can be very profitable.