9 Ideas for Teen Businesses
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
Do you like to be outside or on the computer? Do you like to make things or fix things? Would you rather hang out with animals or kids than anyone else? To help you get a feel for the world of possibilities awaiting you, we've selected nine business ideas that should suit any teen who has a desire to start a business.
Now, let's get started!
Aromatherapy candles, scented jar candles, floating candles, wedding candles, novelty candles, 100 percent beeswax candles, citronella candles, and decorative bowl and crock candles are just a few of the different kinds of candles you can easily make at home part-time and sell for big profits. The candle making learning curve is short, which makes this an excellent moneymaking opportunity for kids, teens and young adults. The best way to start is to educate yourself about candles--how they are made, what the various uses are, and where you can buy the basic materials needed to start. Purchase candle-making books and videos; attend local candle-making classes offered by community centers, craft groups, continuing education programs, and candle-making studios; and partner with other hobby candle makers to learn the secrets of the craft.
Sell your candle creations online utilizing eBay and internet malls. You can sell directly to friends, family members and people in the neighborhood, as well as at flea markets and from vending carts at farmers' and public markets on weekends and holidays. Also, if you are really ambitious and want a shot at earning big bucks, don't overlook the possibility of mass-producing candles so you can establish wholesale accounts with gift and home décor retailers nationwide. Of course, keep safety in mind when making any product. Visit the National Candle Association online at www.candles.org for additional information about making and selling candles.
Calling all creative young entrepreneurs! It's time to earn a ton of extra cash by making and selling beautiful art jewelry. Art jewelry is a catchphrase covering all nonprecious stone jewelry. Art jewelry can be created from many kinds of raw materials individually or in combination, including metals, plastics, stones, ceramics, fabrics, bone and shell, and exotic hardwoods and softwoods. And you can even incorporate some precious stones and materials such as silver and turquoise into your designs. The basic skills and knowledge you'll need to learn can include mold making, casting, soldering, polishing, gem and stone cutting, and setting. But don't worry because there are art jewelry classes taught in every small town and big city across the nation. There are also a multitude of books and videos available on the subject of art jewelry making, and with practice, the learning curve is short.
Once you're producing art jewelry, it can be sold to or consigned with fashion, jewelry and gift retailers, and art galleries, or sold wholesale to retailers at discounted prices. You can also sell to friends and family; on weekends at flea markets, craft shows and mall kiosks; and online through eBay and internet malls. Art jewelry making equipment and supplies are easy to find online through companies such as Auntie's Beads, Fire Mountain Gems and Rio Grande.
If you're mechanically inclined and love cycling, you may be able to earn excellent cash repairing bicycles right from a simple home workshop. There are many advantages to starting a bicycle repair service, including low costs to operate, huge demand for the service in an ever-growing sport, and you can work flexible part-time hours nights and weekends.
Even if you're not experienced in bicycle repairs, there are a number of schools offering bicycle mechanic courses that take only a few weeks to complete, such as those offered by United Bicycle Institute in Oregonor Barnett Bicycle Institute. Market your bicycle repair services to friends and family as well as cycling enthusiasts in your community by pinning promotional fliers to bulletin boards and running low-cost classified ads in your local newspaper. Describe your services, give contact telephone number and your website (if you have one), and include an introductory offer, such as a seasonal bicycle tune-up at a very low cost to attract new business. When you are not busy repairing your own customers' bikes, you can also work for bicycle retailers to handle their overflow repair and warranty work.
Run an eBay Business
Can you make big money selling stuff on eBay? Of course you can, just like thousands of other people. In fact, starting your own eBay business is a fantastic way to earn a ton of extra cash. The first decision you will need to make is to choose what types of things you are going to sell--new products, used products, or both. Anything can be sold on eBay for big profits. You can sell clothing, electronics, antiques, toys, cookware, collectibles, sporting goods, art, and just about anything else imaginable.
If you are going to sell new products, you will need to find a cheap and reliable source. Your options include buying from liquidators, wholesalers, importers, distributors, or directly from manufacturers. Visit your local library or buy a copy of 202 Things You Can Buy and Sell for Big Profits! by James Stephenson for ideas and information on and how you can buy more than 200 products for resale.
If you're going to sell used products, then a little more work will be needed to acquire and maintain an inventory of saleable merchandise. Depending on the things you plan to sell, used products can be bought cheaply by scouring flea markets, garage sales, auction sales and estate sales. Collectibles of every sort are always very popular items to sell on eBay. There is a lot to know about eBay and eBay selling, so I strongly suggest that you spend time on eBay sites like the eBay Learning Center and eBay Seller's Guide. Also visit your library or buy books like Make Big Profits on eBay: Start Your Own Million $ Business by Jacquelyn Lynn and Charlene Davis.
Babysitting, Running Errands & More
For decades babysitting has been a steadfast way for young adults to earn extra money. Many parents find it very difficult to find dependable babysitters. So if you're reliable and do a good job, you can be guaranteed babysitting work for many years and a ton of referral business when your customers start telling their friends about you. Babysitting can also really pay off monetarily, especially during peak holiday times such as New Year's and Christmas when you can easily charge $15 per hour. You can even charge more if you are willing to also do light housekeeping duties such as laundry and cleaning. Start in your own neighborhood and deliver fliers promoting your service; it will probably only take a day two for the calls from eager parents to start rolling in. I would also suggest that take a first aid training course, as this will make a positive impression on nervous parents and give you the ability to handle an emergency should it happen.
Lots of people have dogs, cats, birds and other types of pets that are not suited to be boarded at kennels or left with friends or family when the need arises, such as pets with chronic health conditions or exotic pets for whom finding suitable boarding is difficult. Likewise, many people prefer to have their pets stay in the safety and familiar surroundings of home, as opposed to an unfamiliar boarding environment. When these pet owners are away from home there is only one available solution--hire a pet sitter to come to their homes to care for their beloved pets while they are away. Sometimes this means having to stay with pets overnight or for even longer periods of time, but for the most part, you can simply check in on the pets two to three times per day (before and after school, and again at night) to feed them, walk them, and provide companionship.
Market your pet-sitting services by talking to neighbors, and through pet-related businesses in your community such as veterinarians, pet food retailers, dog trainers, dog walkers, and pet grooming services. Remember that many people also hire pet sitters for short periods of time--a weekend away, a night out, or time off for family events. Therefore, you will need to develop a fee schedule for both long- and short-term pet-sitting jobs. Sign out a copy of Start Your Own Pet-Sitting Business by Cheryl Kimball from your local library for additional information about starting a pet-sitting business.
Snow Shoveling & Raking Leaves
Depending on your investment budget and how much money you want to earn, there are basically two methods for removing snow from walkways and driveways and de-icing surfaces during winter months. One option is to purchase a self-propelled snow blower as well as a manual salt spreader for de-icing. Both pieces of equipment are walk-behind models and would require a truck or trailer to move from job to job if you plan on working far from home. This allows you to make more money because you can do the work quicker and service a larger customer base.
The second option is the good old "Armstrong" method. Armed with nothing more than a $20 shovel and bag of salt, you can shovel snow and de-ice surfaces by spreading the salt by hand. If funds are tight, then this is the best way to get started. Regardless of the option you choose, snow shoveling and surface de-icing is an easy service to start, operate and sell, mainly because shoveling snow is hard work and you'll find lots of property owners will to part with a few bucks so they don't have to do it themselves. Even though this is a seasonal and weather-dependent opportunity, it's not uncommon for motivated young people to earn as much as $100 per day and more when the snow blows.
If you want to earn more money year-round, you can also offer customers additional services like garden tilling, grass cutting, and light yard maintenance. A particularly good opportunity in autumn is raking leaves. Okay, so you might not get rich raking leaves, but you can earn as much as $100 a day raking and bagging leaves for a month or so each fall. This opportunity requires little in the way of explanation, other than to say that raking leaves is hard work that requires a strong back. On a positive note, startup funding requirements are minimal--a rake and a pair of gloves and you're in business. Securing customers is as easy as approaching your snow-shoveling clientele or taking a walk in the neighborhood and knocking on doors to offer your service. I would suggest that you charge in the range of $10 per hour for the service, plus the cost of bags.
Here is a fun moneymaking opportunity that can be right for anyone because startup costs are minimal and even a small backyard herb garden can generate lots of extra cash. Herbs can be divided into three primary categories: culinary herbs used in cooking, such as basil, sage, chives, dill, parsley, rosemary and thyme; fragrant herbs used in potpourri and essential oils, such as tansy, clove, rue, thyme and chamomile; and medicinal herbs, such as borage, catnip, ginseng, pennyroyal and valerian. Regardless of the types of herbs you grow and sell, they're always in big demand.
The first step is to get educated about herbs and herb gardening, which can be accomplished by reading books on the topic, joining herb-growing clubs, and obtaining information about herb gardening online. Next, devise a plan outlining the types of herbs you will grow and how each will be marketed. The plan doesn't have to be sophisticated--it just has to outline the basics such as production costs, marketplace and potential, pricing, and selling methods. Herbs can be sold in a wide variety of ways, including direct to the customer as plants or as a finished product, wholesale sales to retail stores and bulk herb buyers, and selling direct to restaurants and catering companies. A very helpful book on the topic is Growing and Selling Herbs and Herbal Products by Rob and Terry Adams.
Let's face it, today's' busy lifestyles means that many working folk don't have time for even the simplest of errands. Which is great news if you're a multi-tasker looking to start your own simple, inexpensive, yet potentially very profitable part-time business. An errand service involves doing things like picking up groceries or taking the family pet to the veterinarian for a routine checkup. It can be operated with nothing more than a cell phone and reliable transportation. Land clients by creating a simple marketing brochure explaining the services you provide along with your contact information. The brochures can be pinned to community bulletin boards, hand delivered to homes and businesses, and distributed with the local newspaper. A few promotional items such as pens and memo pads emblazoned with your business logo, name and telephone number given out to current and potential customers will go a long way as a gentle reminder of your fast, reliable and affordable errand services. This is the kind of business where growth is fuelled by referrals, so customer service and satisfaction are the most important goals.
For even more business ideas, read 202 Ways to Make Big Bucks and Stop Mooching Off Your Parents, the book from which this article is excerpted.