If you’re a teenager looking for work right now, the job market might look slim. There are so many out of work adults vying for open positions that teens can take a hard hit when it comes to unemployment. Fortunately you have another option. You could start your own business. If that appeals to you, the first thing you’ll want to do is come up with a small business idea that a teenager like you could start.
To point you in the right direction, here are ten example small business ideas for teens.
Babysitting might sound like a stereotypical teen business idea, but it still works. Parents want time off to go out. They need someone they can trust to look after the little ones. If you can become that person by getting to know families in your community and getting some referrals, you can end up with a fairly steady stream of paying work.
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2. Petsitting / Dog Walking
If looking after kids isn’t your thing, how about helping neighbors with their pets? You could petsit when they go away on vacation (feeding, walking, grooming, playing, etc.). Or you could become a regular dog walker in the afternoons after school when many of your neighbors are still at work.
If you do well in school or you have other in-demand skills, you can make money by teaching others. Some examples of tutoring businesses you could start include traditional subject matter tutoring (like math), standardized test prep tutoring, or even tutoring in other activities like giving music lessons.
4. Lawn Mowing / Yardwork
If you like to spend time outdoors and you’re open to more physical work, a law mowing or yardwork business might be great for you. Many of your neighbors are too busy to mow their lawns regularly, and you might have older neighbors who find the job to be a struggle. Others might want your help weeding their flower or vegetable gardens, raking or blowing leaves, or doing minor landscaping work (like moving rocks or handling simple planting).
5. Craft Sales
Are you a into arts and crafts? If so, why not sign up with Etsy or a similar site that will let you sell your handmade creations? You get to enjoy your favorite creative pursuits and make some money in the process.
6. Writing / Publishing
Are you an aspiring author? Why not try your hand at writing for money? That could include anything from freelance writing for clients to starting your own ad-supported blog or even publishing your own books.
7. Errand Running
Do neighbors in your area need help with basic errands? If so, why not offer to run those errands for them while you’re out and about anyway? For example, if you have an elderly neighbor who’s largely homebound, you might offer your services to pick up their weekly groceries for them.
If you’re okay with physical labor but yardwork isn’t your thing, plenty of people could use help with housekeeping. You could offer services for routine weekly cleaning (vacuuming, window cleaning, dusting, etc.) or more thorough spring cleaning (closets, shampooing carpets, etc.).
9. Home Maintenance
Along those same lines, you might opt to start a business offering even more advanced home maintenance services. For example, you might paint, help neighbors maintain their pools, or powerwash decks and walkways. If you’re interested in starting a green business, you could even offer to help people make their homes more energy efficient.
10. Ebay / Yard Sales
Do you love your family’s yearly yard sale? If so, you could turn that into a regular business. For example, you could collect unwanted items from the neighborhood and sell them on consignment in a larger yard sale or online through Ebay, Craigslist, or similar sites. Or could you purchase items from area garage sales and estate sales to resell them in your Ebay store (you must be 18 to have your own Ebay seller account).
Did you start a small business as a teenager? Are you hoping to? What’s your favorite small business idea for teens? Tell us your stories or share your business ideas in the comments below.
Note: This post was originally published on October 18, 2012.