Beyond Babysitting and Mowing Lawns - Business Ideas for Teens
Teens need money too. Their parents cannot always buy them all the things they want - video games, movie tickets, concert tickets, designer clothing, etc. What better way for a teenager to make money than his or her own business? Before you say “But I hate babysitting (or mowing lawns),” consider that there are many more options for teenagers to make money than these two traditional methods.
Before starting your own business, you need to ask yourself a few questions. The first question to ask is whether you can reasonably handle running your own business given your other commitments. Right now, you should make a list of all your weekly commitments. You can do this on a sheet of paper, or you can download a free calendar template. Now, also list birthdays, tests, papers and any other responsibilities you already have. Once you’ve done this, take into account time for meals, and at least 9 -10 hours of sleep at night (yes, teenagers are still growing and require more sleep each night). Now you will have a reasonable idea of how much time each week you have free to devote to your business. Suggestion: keep within the limits suggested by your local school’s work permit regulations (usually around 20 hours a week depending upon your age and whether school is in session or not).
Next, make a list of things you like to do - jewelry making, sports, reading, studying languages, computers, etc. This will come in handy when brainstorming ideas for what kind of business you’d like to run.
Arts and Crafts
In the last section, I mentioned jewelry making as a possible business you might run. Other options in this genre include scrapbooking for families that don’t have time, creating woodwork, needlecraft, making cards, painting, etc. You may want to check on the rules for selling your wares online - most websites require that you are at least eighteen years old. However, with a parent or mentor’s help, you can still sell your items. Just make sure the parent or mentor has the time to list your items and help you to ship them (and perhaps offer a percentage of your income to them as gratitude for their time).
Do you love animals? If so, a business involving animals may be an option for you. Dog walking businesses put money in your pocket and help get you moving outside of the house. Alternatively, you can operate a business that provides care for peoples’ animals when they are out of town for business or vacation. Make sure that you are reliable and always do what you say you will do. By advertising with fliers or through word of mouth of people you know, you can build your business.
Are you outstanding in math? Do you have a knack for the written word? Can you name all of the elements on the periodic table? Chances are, you have great strength in at least one academic subject. Offer tutoring services to children in elementary or middle school to help spread your knowledge.
Alternatively, if you have extreme prowess on a computer, consider working with senior citizens to teach them how to use their computers, build family websites, and communicate with friends online.
Even if you only have access to a bike, you can run an errands service where you go to the store, library, post office, or other local venues for those who are too busy to run the errands themselves (or for the disabled or elderly). Related to this service is cleaning, yard maintenance, and car maintenance businesses.
Come up with your own ideas and don’t be afraid to be creative. Bring together a group of teenagers and offer a housepainting service. If you can sew, offer to alter clothes or make curtains for people. For more inspiration on creating a business while in your teen years, you may wish to read Mark Victor Hansen’s The Richest Kids in America.