Kids starting a business may sound crazy and far-fetched, but it is happening all over the place.
From kids with lemonade stands in your neighborhood and teens taking over the Silicon Valley with their ideas to the youth entrepreneurs with million dollar start-ups in Africa, entrepreneurship is growing rapidly among the younger generation.
Today’s kids are no longer satisfied with internships and summer jobs.
They want to become financially independent as soon as possible.
They see other young entrepreneurs, like Mark Zuckerberg, who have changed the world while making billions of dollars, and they want to do the same.
What will I learn?
Enter Youth Entrepreneurship
With teens unemployment rate hovering around 25%, today’s youth are realizing to become financially independent they need to be their own boss.
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Fortunately, the startup culture of today, combined with the many tools and resources like crowdfunding start-ups, have made it much easier than ever for anyone, including kids, to launch their own business.
Now, no one’s pretending that it’s easy, although some things are easier to do than others.
There are tons of online jobs for teens that any kid can pick up. But to be an entrepreneur, you have to be a self-starter, able to triumph over setbacks and have the courage to do things that others may not.
In return, the young entrepreneur will learn many skills that will serve for life, such as being creative, responsible, dealing with finances, and even being a leader if the business grows.
But I don’t have a new business idea!
You don’t need a new idea!
You don’t have to have a new business idea to make it. Sure, having a new and revolutionary idea is great, but it’s also risky.
On the other hand, tried-and-true methods are less risky. You can build upon the experience of people who came before you.
And if you can manage to put your own twist to an already existing idea, it will be even better.
Remember, MySpace existed long before Facebook. But Zuckerberg came along, put a new twist to the idea and created something entirely new that now 1 in 4 people on earth use every day.
Ready to start your own business?
Here is a selection of awesome small (and big) business ideas for kids and teens that can be used as they are, or brainstormed into even better ideas.
1. Selling used books
Student textbooks are particularly sought after, so a teen looking to make some money probably has a good start.
Unless you can find a source of books, this is more of a one-off project to make money, but if you can become the middleman, perhaps selling off friends’ books too, it will be worthwhile.
To make a real business out of this, you have to start buying and selling used books.
2. Creating websites and blogging
If you have a particular passion or are an expert in something that people may want to read about, blogging about it can be a great way to monetize that knowledge.
Doesn’t matter what topic(s) you are an expert on, if you are well-informed about it and can help people understand it, you can blog about it.
There are successful blogs on just about anything you can think of – food, cooking, health, sports, money, education….
But if there are already blogs about everything, I won’t have a chance of making it!
Not with that again!
Remember we talked about creating successful businesses out of existing ideas?
The same principle applies here…
There could be thousands of blogs about cooking vegan foods, but none or very few on how to do it cheap.
There may be thousands of blogs about making and saving money, but not many cover the unusual and crazy, yet practical methods (which is why I started MoneyPantry)
And tanks to the endless number of tools and apps that make it easy and quick to build websites and blogs, you no longer have to know code or spend thousands of dollars to start a blog. In fact, you can start a blog today for free.
You can monetize our blog with ads, affiliate marketing, selling your own eBooks and courses, and so on.
3. Making candles
There are so many different types of candles that you will never get bored making them.
You can start with a basic candle kit, or simply buy the ingredients in bulk. It’s easy to learn how to do it and fun to experiment.
You can have floating candles, scented candles, and various types of molded and carved candles too.
Candles sell well on eBay, Etsy, and other sites. They can also be sold at flea markets and craft fairs.
4. Selling handmade stuff on Etsy
For the creative teen, Etsy is a great way to start making money.
Just one look at the website shows the variety of things that you can sell, including jewelry, candles, art, and even jam.
For allowing you to have a virtual storefront on the Internet, Etsy takes a small commission, which is quite a deal if you look at the complication of setting up your own website with a shopping cart online and accepting payments.
Etsy takes all the headache away, leaving you free to pick and sell what you want.
5. Pet sitting/walking
Pet sitting jobs are much easier to find these days thanks to the many websites that match sitters with owners.
You can even start from your own neighborhood. Put flyers out, let neighbors and friends know, put ads on Craigslist, etc.
The best thing about this business is that it doesn’t require any financial investment(though you may be required to have insurance but that comes into play when your business has grown a little) or tools. All you need is yourself, a pet friendly attitude, and a willingness to work hard
6. Becoming a tutor
Another idea for the older teen is to make money as a tutor or instructor in things they have already learned.
Having just been through the system, they are well placed to help younger school kids.
There are even sites where you get paid to do homework for others. But that’s not what we ‘re talking about here. We’re talking about tutoring and helping students, not doing their homework for them.
But this idea does not have to be restricted to help with schoolwork. People will pay to learn how to use a computer better, or how to play the piano. Any skills may be something that someone else wants to pay to learn.
To start, you can use sites that make it easy to get paid for teaching various skills.
Here are a few:
Baby sitting is another tried-and-true kid friendly business that has been around for years and it still works.
As with most businesses of this kind, getting your first few clients is the hardest part.
8. House sitting
Similarly to babysitting, this is another great business for teenagers.
However, because of the responsibility involved, it’s probably best to find clients that are friends of the family. Many people are not going to respond well to the prospect of leaving the keys to the house with an unknown teenager for a period of time.
Housesitting can be quite easy, but requires diligence in order to make sure all the necessary jobs are done. Jobs may include watering the pot plants, bringing in the mail, and sometimes looking after pets which couldn’t be taken on vacation.
9. Running errands
People are always wanting to get more things done, and having someone to run errands for them will help them to achieve this.
It may be picking up some groceries, or running the kids to their sports practice – for this, a great driving record is required – if the teen is willing to do what’s needed, then there are many opportunities available.
If you don’t know where to start, use the good old Craigslist to place ads, offering your services while keeping an eye on posts from local folks who may need your service.
10. Cleanup service
Cleaning business are hot these days thanks to the massive success of startups like MaidsInBlack launched by young entrepreneurs.
The beauty of starting a cleaning business is that it requires very little. With less than $100 in cleaning supplies, you can launch a cleaning business.
11. Social media expert
This is where the old and the new meet.
Many older and more established businesses realize that they need to use social media increasingly to stay current, yet are struggling when it comes to the practicalities.
The typical teen, who is already active on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and whatever the latest social site is, is remarkably well placed to help an established business with this task.
You can either concentrate on one particular media outlet, such as Instagram, or offer to be the expert in all things social media.
More small business ideas for kids
There are opportunities everywhere.
We just scratched the surface when it comes to kid-friendly business ideas. So put your thinking hat on and get to work.
And if you need more ideas and inspirations, here are some:
- Senior Errand Service
- Haul-away Service
- Snow Removal
- Plant Maintenance
- Pool Cleaning
- Curb Painting
- Small Engine Repair Service
- Yard Service
- Web Design Service
- Paper Routes
- Freelance Writing Services
- Laundry Services
- Virtual Assistance
- Proofreading and Editing
- Video Creation
- Selling Used and Unwanted Stuff on eBay
- Gift Wrapping Services
- Device Set Up
- Washing Cars
- Jewelry Design
- Making Greeting Cards
- Poop Handler
- Becoming an Online Personality
- Party Animal
- Pimp My Ride
- How-to Videos
- Garage Sales
- Lemonade Stand
- Computer Repair
- Party Assistance
- Moving Service
- Video Blogging
- Catering Services
- Making Stickers with Interesting Sayings
- Lawn Care Services
- Weekend Window Cleaning
- Grow Stuff
- Kids Taxi
- Language Instructor
- Music Lessons
- Construction Cleaning
- Gutter Cleaning
- General Maintenance/handyman
- House Painting
- Pressure Washing
The job market is still not where it should be. Even after hitting an eight-year low of 4.9 percent unemployment rate (according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics), a lot of people are struggling to find jobs. Some people are finding out that they have to take matters into their own hand and create their own jobs.
Being an entrepreneur and running your own small business as a kid (or an adult) can an extremely rewarding experience.
If it works out well, what you do may even become a full-time career. But in any case, gaining a little independence and getting the experience of different types of work is invaluable.
This type of work develops your patience and perseverance, as not all things work well all the time. There will be successes and failures, and the person who wins is the one who has, at least, one more success than failure.
I hope these kids and teen-friendly business ideas will spark more ideas for you so you can launch your very own small business.