Spending Summertime Wisely - Part 2: Starting Your Own Business!

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By Mike Thatcher - Posted on 08 July 2010

In the last installment of the summer fun blog we discussed job seeking tips for teens. But what can you do if the employment prospects for teenagers in your community are limited? Many teenagers across the country are responding with the spirit of entrepreneurship and starting their own business. In today’s blog post we will share some more tips and tricks teenagers can use to start their own business.

As mentioned in our previous blog post, teenagers should always include their parents or guardians in the process of starting their own business. Not only is this the right thing to do in terms of safety, parents often times will be able to help teens grow their business.

It is important to first look at the advantages and disadvantages of starting your own business. Some key advantages include being able to set your own hours - you are the only boss you have to answer to, and being able to collect all the profits from your business (assuming it reaches profitability).

Disadvantages to starting your own business include accepting the fact that many new businesses will not get off the ground. It also takes some “seed” money to get a new business started and if mom and dad are unable to finance a fledgling teen business, finding so-called “Angel Investors” can sometimes be difficult. Often times the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and even the attempt to create a business will be one more item on a college application that will help a student to stand out from the crowd.

So now that you’ve decided to start your own business, what types of businesses work for teenage entrepreneurs? According to Quintessential Careers, there are many businesses teens can start and be successful with. Ideas include:

  • A cleaning service. Maybe you hate doing your chores at home, but getting paid for doing them is completely different! You could offer complete housecleaning services, or specialize in one or more areas, such as attic/basement/garage cleanups.
  • A yard maintenance service. There is always something that needs to be done…mowing lawns and weed control in the spring and summer, raking leaves in the fall, and shoveling snow and planting for the spring in the winter.
  • A car-detailing business. With so many people working multiple jobs and having such busy lifestyles, very few people have the time to really take care of their cars -- and you could offer a weekly or monthly service of washing, waxing, vacuuming, etc.
  • A pet sitting service. Typically more of a summer business when people tend to go on vacation, but you might be able to have a year-round business by offering pet walking, bathing and clean up services.
  • A PC tutor/Web site development service. Are you a whiz with computers and the Web? Many adults are not, and you could make a good business helping people learn to use PCs and develop Web sites for their families.
  • An errand, messenger, or delivery service. This idea works best in larger cities where there are more people and public transportation, but these are busy times and people need help with all sorts of errands.
  • A freelancing service. If you are truly gifted in a certain field, such as writing, drawing, or photography, consider starting a freelancing business where you sell your wares to various businesses and media outlets.

Teenagers can also use their unique talents to start a business. Good Morning America recently profiled a teenager who used her talent as a singer to start her own business performing at weddings and parties. 

Teens should avoid flyers and door-to-door solicitation as they might be dangerous or even illegal in certain communities. Instead, as with any good business, teens should stick to word of mouth advertising. Work closely with family and friends and offer incentives (discounted or free services) for providing new customers.

While it is far from easy, creating and building your own business over the summer has the potential to be one of the most rewarding experiences in a teen’s life.

Can you think of any other ideas for teenagers to make money during the summer? Let us know in the comments if you have experience with starting your own business and what you learned. Good luck and stay safe!

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