Click to Print

Get Your After-School Business Started!

April 11, 2006

Editor's note: The article was excerpted from 202 Ways to Make Big Bucks and Stop Mooching Off Your Parents. Buy it today from Entrepreneur Press.

When an allowance or minimum-wage job just won't cut it, it's time to start a business. There's an idea for everyone, regardless of skills, experience or funds. Getting started in any new moneymaking enterprise is always the hardest step. To help you get past this stage, here are the different types of businesses you can start, as well as some other things to consider before choosing your ideal business.

Providing a service is a great option for young entrepreneurs because in many instances the initial investment to get started is little more than business cards and a bit of initial advertising, and often not even that.

How Much Money Can You Earn?
How much extra money do you want to earn? I have to put the answer in the form of a question because operating your own business, even if it is a small part-time moneymaking enterprise, almost always gives you the potential to earn more money than you would be able to by working a job. Why? One reason is simple duplication. When you work for someone else, there is only you and only so many hours in the day to work for a specific set wage. When you operate a business, you can duplicate yourself by hiring employees and therefore increase productivity and duplicate your customers. If you're really ambitious you can even duplicate your business by opening in new geographical areas to sell more products and services to more customers and earn more profits and income. Without question, there are upper limits to how much money you can earn operating a small business, but at the same time your ability to earn an above-average income or a ton of extra cash will be determined by your ambition and motivation, and not by punching a time clock trading hours for a wage.

Choosing the Right Moneymaking Opportunity
The type of business or moneymaking opportunity that you are considering must suit you. You may have an interest and even experience in a specific business, selling a product, providing a specific service, or making and selling a product, but that doesn't necessarily make it a good thing for you to do to make money. There are many points to consider when finding a good match, including doing what you want and believe that you would enjoy, capitalizing on current skills and experiences, the amount of money you have to invest to get started, and if you are younger than 16 or so, obtaining parental permission and support.

All successful businesspeople, regardless of their ages, share a common trait: They love what they do. If you enjoy fitness, consider starting a personal trainer service; if you like the great outdoors, then seek out an opportunity that will get you working outside; or if you love animals, then start a pet-sitting business, dog-walking service, or any other number of opportunities that will enable you to work with animals. The old saying "Do what you love and the money will follow" is great advice. Ultimately, if you don't think you would enjoy it, then don't start. You can't stay motivated and rise to new challenges if you don't like what you're doing.

However, with that said, most people have a tendency to underestimated the true value of their skills, experiences and knowledge. But keep this in mind: What may come naturally to you may not come so naturally to others. Likewise, you might think your particular knowledge or expertise may be of little value, but if someone else needs or wants to learn about that knowledge, needs the service, or needs the product, it is very valuable to them. Create a list of all of your skills, experiences and specific knowledge. Then look for ways to build a business or moneymaking opportunity around one or more of these.

The money needed to start a business (called "investment capital") can be broken into two categories: The first is startup capital--what you need to purchase equipment, meet legal requirements, or buy inventory, for example. The second is working capital--the money you need to pay all the bills until the business is earning money and reaches a break-even point. Unfortunately, more times than not, a new business that is started without enough money will ultimately fail. This is the harsh reality of the business world.

On a positive note, the vast majority of young people who start a business have little in the way of personal expenses to pay (such as rent or mortgage payments), which means that you can use most of your startup money for the business. Likewise, many of the opportunities featured in 202 Ways Not to Mooch Off Your Parents can be started for less than a few thousand dollars, and lots for as little as $100. Therefore, while having or having access to enough startup funding and working capital is important, if you don't, you will still be able to find a moneymaking opportunity that is right for you.

Equally important is parental support because in many instances you will be relying on your parents or other family members to help out with your venture. This could mean borrowing the family car, having parents drive you around for various business-related reasons, or using space in the family home to store things or set up an office or work area, just to mention a few. Therefore you should discuss your business desires and plans with your parents to get their full permission and support for your venture before making any decisions.