11 Small business ideas for teenagers

11 Small business ideas for teenagers

By Valentina Tuta

Considering how fast the world has been changing lately, we know that the new generations face a very uncertain future, and although school only helps them prepare for some things, nowadays young people are exploiting their unique skills in the real world, and some are even making money doing it.

You see, between soccer practice and driving lessons, many teens are also running successful businesses. Today, many are saving up to buy sneakers or pay for their own college tuition. In addition, many of them use their skills to make a positive impact on the world, but whatever their motivations, these young people, sometimes without realizing it, are building the foundation for their future as well.

For that reason, it is important that they are aware that, being young, they still have the opportunity to change course, and having the most valuable resource at that stage of their life (time) is more advantageous than they think. Stay and learn about 11 small business ideas for teenagers.

As a young person, you have many options

Offer babysitting services

Truth be told, this is the perfect adventure to start with, as it’s a job that will help you develop interpersonal skills and test your first aid knowledge. On the other hand, to gain credibility, you can up your childcare game by creating a professional website with your credentials, rates, and availability. 

Moreover, a scheduling application and intake form on your website can help you more easily manage bookings and family needs. Plus, it’s the perfect way to promote your business by encouraging your best clients to provide a testimonial on your site.

Tutor or give lessons to younger kids

Are you gifted in math or music? How about teaching some of those skills to others? The main thing is to be patient and focus on the details. That way, you’re sure to become a natural teacher in no time. 

Likewise, you can opt to teach one-on-one lessons in person, or you can sell DIY kits, templates, or virtual classes through an online store. You can even use your online store to sell appointments for in-person services.

Another way to boost your business is through customer referrals and word of mouth by asking your students and their parents to leave you a review online.

Design and sell print-on-demand products

This is not only a good alternative to generating income but also to exploiting your creativity and giving life to your designs. If you love to draw or create digital designs, dare to sell your art online as reproductions. It’s a great way to earn money from home while you’re still in school, and the best part: doing what you love.

Similarly, tech and business-savvy teens can even make a simple side job with a Shopify store and a print-on-demand app that helps them customize private label products with their own designs. 

Remember that your art can be printed on a range of products, including hats, t-shirts, art prints, and water bottles, and if you’re not an artist, you can still opt to print anything from slogans to memes on products to sell.

Start a neighborhood services business

The perfect alternative if you love to talk and meet people is to start a service business. Furthermore, it’s a great business idea for teens because it doesn’t have to conflict with busy school schedules, so you’ll be able to set your own hours and take on only as much work as you can handle.

Some typical neighborhood services include car washing, lawn mowing and lawn care, house painting, and snow removal. If you have flexibility and access to a car, start a handyman service like personal shopping or grocery delivery, or maybe try repairing or cleaning mobile bikes 

Are you more creative than technical? Well, how about a decorating consulting business? This type of business is low-risk and fast-starting because you don’t need to buy or build inventory up front. What’s more, you can create flyers with a QR code that links to your website and place them in mailboxes or post them on community notice boards.

Become an online creator (and sell merch)

For those good speakers who have a natural flair for selling or getting anything from book report extensions to winning class elections, this is the perfect opportunity to monetize your skills!

You can start by creating an online community through blogging, live streaming, or posting content on social media platforms like YouTube, Twitch, Instagram, or TikTok and making beauty tutorials, gaming tips, or DIY videos so that you can later monetize your account.

As you know, online creators (or influencers) even generate extra money by selling promoted posts from your favorite brands. So, once you’ve built a loyal audience, turn your personal brand into a business and sell merchandise.

Sell handmade goods

Let’s face it, the creative side of any merchant opens up many possibilities, and this is no different for young people; in fact, it becomes the perfect way to run a handmade business. 

Then, whether you are skilled at sewing clothes with your own patterns, designing jewelry, baking truffles, or even making for dogs, the internet audience will love you, as users love hands-on activities. Other ideas for handmade goods to make and sell include:

  • Beaded or textile jewelry
  • Handmade soaps or bath bombs
  • Pet supplies like treats or leashes
  • Greeting cards

To start your community, you can try selling through your own ecommerce site, an online marketplace like Etsy, at local craft fairs, or through local retailers. 

In turn, use social media platforms to share your creations, post DIY reels, and build an audience. Keep in mind that you should choose something you are passionate about; passion is what drives you. 

Start a pet-care business

As a teenager, you are old enough to start a pet-sitting business. Start a dog walking business, or you can offer your pet sitting services to watch or visit pets in your clients’ homes.

This idea can thrive through word of mouth, just like with pet sitting and neighborhood pet sitting services. Although you can consider creating an e-commerce store to sell not only services but also complementary pet products, such as treats, collars, and dog sweaters. 

You can advertise yourself by targeting pet owners in their neighborhood and handing out your business card at a local dog park.

Host a pop-up market for youth

As we’ve mentioned in subsequent places, handmade products really captivate audiences and are the perfect business idea for a teenager. But to take it a step further, why not organize a show with other young makers, either at a high school or a local community center?

You can find craft fair vendors in your school’s art program and promote your show through social media marketing, asking other makers to amplify it.

Other types of selected markets could include resale items and collectibles such as vinyl records or comic books, or a charity bake sale. This initiative is ideal for those young people who want to earn extra spending money with no long-term commitment.

Record reviews and unboxings for YouTube

Are you successful in the entertainment field? Then you’d better find a business that will keep you there. You see, teens who have an interest in a certain hobby (gaming, photography, or hairstyling) can acquire a following by uploading video reviews, demos, or unboxings to YouTube and eventually end up monetizing their channel.

Other business ideas for extroverted teens include hosting a podcast, becoming a videographer, or starting a photography business.

Run a summer camp for younger kids

If you get along well with kids and enjoy being outdoors, you can help neighborhood parents with childcare services during summer holiday. Moreover, when you’re not in school full-time, you can invest more time in your small business, so you can even organize week-long camps around themes such as theater, nature skills, STEM, or arts and crafts. Starting as a nanny during the school year is a great way to build your client list and credentials.

Design websites and online stores

Now, if you are more skilled with digital art or coding, you can start a graphic design business or a web design service from your bedroom. Nowadays, a large portion of teenagers are tech-savvy.

If you are part of this percentage, you will surely find it easier to design and create websites from scratch, create logos, and do advertising. On the other hand, you can put local businesses online by creating e-commerce stores.

Finally, if video games are your thing, you also have the opportunity to grow in the business world, as you can design applications or online games as a small business idea. This usually includes technical support, data entry, technology tutoring, and transcription services, which are other business ideas for teens who like to work with computers.

Do’s and don’ts: business tips for teens

If you’re the type who excels at schoolwork while maintaining a balance between an active social life and extracurricular activities, you’ll most likely have everything under control and be able to start a small business.

However, there are some points you should always keep in mind to avoid burning out and instead make the most of your experience as a young entrepreneur:

DO set boundaries

Usually, the excitement of starting a new project can affect your school performance if you don’t manage your time well. Therefore, establish a weekly schedule and set priorities from day one.

DO hold yourself accountable

If at any point you made a commitment to a client, it’s important to keep your word. “It’s easy to slip up and say, “Oh, gee, I totally forgot I had that goal. Whatever, I’ll see you next week,” says Simone Hufana, 19, founder of Color HerStory.

🛑DON’T doubt yourself

Always remember that you are excellent at what you do, whether it’s fixing bicycles, mastering video games, or designing your own websites. It will certainly be a challenge for introverted people, as making the leap from a hobby to a business will involve getting out of their bubble a bit, but don’t get discouraged or think about giving up, as there are many business ideas that suit every personality.

DO take risks

Within reason, of course! “I definitely think you have to have a strong mindset,” says Mateo Galvez, 19, founder of LOTTA WORLDWIDE. “You can’t be afraid.”

🛑DON’T overcommit

Choose a business idea that works within your current availability. If your school schedule and extracurricular activities already take up a lot of your time, it’s best to opt for a business that is quite practical, such as a print-on-demand or drop-shipping store.

DO have fun

This is perhaps the most important point. While it’s true that a small business is a valuable learning opportunity, it should also be something you enjoy doing. Whether you’re running a pet grooming service or selling music lessons, you should choose a business idea that brings you joy, not stress.

How to start a business if you’re under 18

If you’re under 18, you likely need parental signoff to get started. Depending on national and regional law, in most places minors cannot legally start a business on their own, nor can they sign legally binding contracts.

Parental help will also likely be required to open a business bank account. Nonetheless, as mentioned above, this depends on the laws of the place where you live, although anywhere, as such, parents are legally responsible for the actions of teenagers through these various accounts.

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