Between soccer practice, a flourishing social (+love) life, seemingly endless schoolwork, and driving lessons, a lot of teens are also running successful businesses. Billionaire Mark Cuban started his venture selling rubbish bags at just 12, while IKEA creator founded his famous furniture store in his 17th year. Having a small business imparts valuable real-world skills that cannot be learned in the classroom and builds a foundation for a successful future. In the long run when you are applying for college, having a small business ideas under your belt portrays leadership skills and innovation. Colleges are always seeking out well-rounded applicants who exhibit skills beyond a report card. In fact, so many global leaders cut their teeth early on in life as “teenpreneurs”. Along the way, you can save up for tuition and living expenses or just splurge on yourself. If you are an industrious teen with an entrepreneurial spirit but don’t know where to start, here are some creative small business ideas for teens to make money.
16 Best small business ideas for teens:
Have a knack for a particular subject in school? Why not help others who need additional help in a particular subject area, while making a fortune out of it. If you think you possess expert knowledge of the subject matter or passionate about something, and the ability to explain it in a way that others can learn, you can easily start a rewarding tutoring business at virtually no cost. You can tutor from your own home or that of the students, or even in another location, such as a school or library. Be it assisting students with homework, simplifying complex concepts, helping students improve their grades, or even foraying into SAT/ACT Prep tutoring, this is a gratifying side-hustle for teens.
If you are half as obsessed with the Babysitters club as we are, this idea is perfect for you. In fact, why stick to your own neighborhood or family, when you can up your game by creating a professional website with your credentials, testimonials, and rates or distributing flyers at kiddy events. Remember that in this field, word-of-mouth makes all the difference. Be sure to get certified in CPR/First-aid and collect references from past families to show that you are more than up for the task. Just like Stacey, Dawn, Kristy and Claudia, you can open up your own babysitting business after school or on weekends.
Want to know how to make money as a teen by driving? Why not run errands for neighbors or friends who are home-bound, pressed for time or are neck deep in commitments, and make money along the way. Plus, this business idea is easy to set up in your own time and doesn’t require any specialized skills. Even grocery pickup, driving an elderly to a doctor’s appointment, or lawn care helps you earn.
Do you have any creative flairs up your sleeves? Instagram-able, Handcrafted candles and soaps have become a novelty gift item and you can cash in on the trend. To run a successful candle/soap making business, you need to purchase raw materials, create and experiment with fragrances and colors, craft fun shapes and styles, and up your marketing game. Since the material comes pretty cheap, you can start a business with a minimal upfront investment. Advertise on your social feeds, sell at local craft fairs or weekend markets, or simply market them to your friends and family.
Give Music Lessons
Do you have the gift of music? Do you play any instrument such as guitar, piano, drum, violin? Why not teach others your skills and earn along the way! If you are a musically-inclined teen, you should think about opening up a freelance music training school and give home music lessons to your peers or younger kids in your neighborhood. You can even go a step ahead and make short video lessons that you can sell online for a fee.
Are you great with a camera? Do friends and family badger you to take their pictures at every event? This is one of the best small online business ideas for teens. If there’s a wedding, bar mitzvah, birthday party, prom, or other big event or celebration, you want to be the face behind the camera. Even if you are not a pro, you can always learn technique you need to capture and edit professional photos online. All you need is a good camera and lenses to get started! Furthermore, you can even sell your clicks on Foap, Stockimo, ScoopShot and Shutterstock and get a handsome paycheck.
Pet Sitting/ Dog Walking
Pet owners look to sitters to take care of their pets while they are on holidays or on work trips and can’t find a friend/neighbor to watch them. If you are an animal lover, think of this job as actually getting paid to play with friendly pooches and providing them with basic care. While you are at it, you can even extend your services to dog walking. This is where busy adults hire you to take their pooches out for a walk and stretch their legs. When your clients have dogs that can be safely walked together, you can make the best use of your time and simultaneously serve many clients at the same time. As demand for your dog walking business grows even further, consider hiring a few of your friends to help you out. Bonus tip: if you are looking to up your earnings, you can expand your services to include dog washing/grooming on the side!
Sell Digital Products
Are you a tech-savvy creator who loves making digital products on your computer? This can be as simple as creating a few cool designs for T-shirts or mugs, or even crafting fonts, company logos, e-books, greeting cards, custom portraits and e-invites for clients. You can also sign up on platforms such as 99designs.com, fiverr.com, and threadless.com and compete for dollars by submitting your designs for client-sponsored contests. If the client likes your design, you get paid. If you love graphic design but don’t have the required training, it won’t take long to learn the ropes. Check if your school offers classes on graphic design and make the best use of school software to hone your skills.
It goes without saying that most teens are avid gamers and passionate performers! However, did you know that you can actually turn your gaming into a career through twitch and other streaming sites? Running your own channel on a streaming service can earn you a fortune if you have built a fan-following. You will be paid based on how interesting your commentary is while playing and your skill at the video game.
Sell Baked Goods
Who doesn’t like the whiff of fresh homemade cookies, muffins, and cupcakes? Unfortunately, not many adults can factor in any time for baking in their hectic schedules! If you have a strong predilection for baking, you can always turn your passion into a thriving business. You can bake goodies in your home oven and start by selling to family, friends, and neighbors. Later, you can expand to take bigger orders for events and parties. To avoid last-minute rush and disappointments, take orders and half payment in advance. Up your marketing game by decorating baked goodies live on Facebook or offering contests and giveaways.
Landscaping And Lawn Care
Do you enjoy being outdoors and can handle a shovel? Truth is that most adults are too busy to rake leaves, mow their lawns, kill weed, water plants, or trim bushes! They would happily hire someone to do the tedious task for them and keep their garden in great shape. You may need your own lawnmower, rake, gloves, and wheelbarrow to start a full-fledge business but most initially you can try to find clients who already have all the tools.
Another business idea that teens can do in their own time is to transcribe interviews for a local newspaper or other business. If you have the right typing and listening skills, why not use them to earn along the way. You can even become a certified transcriptionist and boost your earning potential.
People like to keep their cars maintained and are often willing to pay someone to care for them. You can wash and detail car exteriors or even expand your services to detail the insides of vehicles as well, then you will have to have cleaning equipment like a vacuum, upholstery cleaners, etc. To market to the right audience, distribute flyers at the entrances to car parks, car park paying machines, and near roundabouts.
Do you love holiday decorating at home? Why not make a living out of it? Not everyone enjoys decorating their houses during Christmas, Halloween, and other holidays. There must be plenty of homes in your neighborhood that need some assistance decorating. Soon, you can expand to other neighbors by distributing flyers and increase your income.
If you have got the writing streak or are willing to learn, freelance writing is one of the best small business ideas for teens. As a freelance writer, you can find gigs writing for newsletters, advertisers, eBooks, and blogs. In addition to being good with words, you also need to be a pro at research, since you will often have to write content that you are unfamiliar with. You can find plenty of work at freelance websites such as upwork and Fiver.