The entrepreneurial spirit can take hold early in life, meaning there are teenagers who are ready to start their first business while out of school in the summer. The many opportunities for teens, willing to take advantage of their particular skills, are unlimited.
Here are 14 ideas to get the creative juices flowing, and these ideas can spark even more profitable ideas for the energetic, entrepreneurial teen.
Run Errands for the Elderly or People with Special Needs
The elderly or people with special needs often need help with the simplest chores. They may need someone to go to the grocery store to pick up a few items, to take a pet to the veterinarian or the groomer, or to give them a ride to a doctor’s appointment, social function or church meeting. Teens can also cook or heat meals to help elderly people get proper nutrition. It is important to be reliable, good with people, patient and understanding of human limitations. You can get some good ideas on sites like Seniorerrandservice.com and Care.com.
Make and Sell Crafts
So many teenagers have made handmade gifts over the years. They sew, cross stitch, embroider, knit, paint, make ceramic items, assemble baskets and do many other types of crafts. Some teens develop traditional skills, while others utilize technology in new ways to create stunning artwork or crafts. These crafts can be sold to people looking for innovative and unique gifts or home decoration items. There are many avenues for selling, including local craft fairs or other community events, and/or online on sites like eBay, Etsy, and ArtFire.
Health and Fitness
Tech-smart teens can develop and sell a health app, but there are other ways to make money on health and fitness. For example, some parents need a reliable teenager who can teach or improve their children’s skills in a sport like basketball, baseball or soccer, or who will take their children to the community park or community center to participate in sports or to play on the playground. Teens can also coach or referee sports. For example, the United States Soccer Federation only requires the person to be over the age of 16 to become a paid soccer referee, and there are many different levels of play so no need to be an expert.
Take Advantage of Technology
Technology offers an endless array of business opportunities. YouTube, podcasting and blogging can become a source of advertising revenues. Tech savvy teens can sell tech support and web design services, do social media consulting, repair computers and iPad & mobile phone screens and help people set up and learn the functions on their mobile phones. Teaching older generations how to utilize technology is also an excellent business opportunity. Mark Zuckerberg was a teenager when he developed the software that would become the Facebook.
Summer time can be a difficult time for working parents who need someone to watch and entertain their school-age children. Responsible teenagers who enjoy the company of children can offer babysitting services, an age-old business for teens. This may seem like a predictable suggestion, but teens can use their imagination to offer customized services. For example, provide a ‘taxi service’ for kids who need a ride to day camp or sports camps, or offer daily check-in services to ensure children who do not need a full-time sitter are doing well.
Tutor Other Students
Tutoring all ages of students can be lucrative. Summer is the ideal time to help students struggling in a certain area like math, reading or science. There are plenty of teenagers helping K-12 and college students strengthen their competencies in difficult subjects. Academic tutors can also help students prepare for standardized tests like the SAT or ACT.
Car Washing and Interior Cleaning
Car washing and interior cleaning services require a very small investment in supplies. The key to generating significant income is to develop regular business or customers who have you return each week. Offer to wash cars at the person’s home or place of business (if able to connect a hose to a faucet).
Become a Reseller
Teens can resell new products purchased from manufacturers, distributors or retailers. Value added products (items purchased at wholesale and marked up when resold); stores with overstocks and seasonal items; and store closures are great sources of products. The products can be sold through your own website, or you can set up a store in eBay or Amazon. The Reseller Network is a good source of information. Getting an online store up and running is easy with e-commerce site builders like Shopify and BigCommerce.
People love their pets! Teens can walk dogs for the elderly, disabled or people working long hours. Offer vacation services which can include full-time pet sitting in the person’s house or daily visits to provide pet care. Even animal poop can be turned into cash when you provide yard clean-up services.
No one really enjoys moving because it requires heaving lifting and lots of cleaning. Many people choose to self-move, especially when remaining in the same city, because it is much less expensive than hiring a professional moving company. Teenagers make ideal moving assistants and can charge by the hour or offer a flat rate depending on the size of the job. You can also offer to do a lot of the legwork like picking up boxes at the local UPS store.
Selling Used Items
Every year Americans spend large amounts on goods and services they do not need or want. There are two ways to approach this business. One is to sell items you find, buy or own. The second business model is to sell items for other people for a commission. You can sell to consignment shops, second hand stores, and antique stores; hold yard sales; or rent a booth in a store where people sell used items. Selling online can also be profitable. Besides eBay and Etsy, there is Bonanza, Facebook Marketplace, apps like LetGo and 5Miles, ThreadUp, Tradesy.com and so many others. Do a Google search for online sites that are general auction or resale sites, or sites that specialize in items you want to sell, like jewelry, coins, wedding dresses, etc.
A cleaning service can offer housekeeping services, but no need to stop there. Teens can clean out garages and sheds, clean siding with a pressure washer or assist homeowners with all the chores that go with keeping house and property in good shape.
Lawn Care Services
Mowing yards may not be glamorous work, but it can be lucrative. You can set a fee schedule and charge for various services, like mowing, shrub trimming, leaf raking and so on. Set a flat fee for total yard services.
Home Checks and Services
In this category, there are two primary ways to make money. One is to be a house sitter when people go on vacation or business trips. Many people with pets need this type of service because they do not want to put their beloved animals in a kennel. The second moneymaking idea is to do house checks when people are away. Daily house checks can ensure no catastrophes occur, like a washing machine line breaking and pouring water into the house. Events like these occur many more times than people realize.
The best plan is to begin building a business before summer arrives because word-of-mouth advertising is one of the best marketing strategies. Other marketing ideas include going door to door, posting flyers on bulletin boards, and using social media to let friends and family know you are in business. Successful entrepreneurship requires consistent effort and hard work, but there are many stories of successful businesses started by people in their teens.