When you think of teen entrepreneurs, most people think of lemonade stands or mowing lawns. But just as the Internet has provided many opportunities for adults to start a home business, so too has it for teens. In fact, since teens have grown up on digital technology, they’re uniquely qualified to rock a home business, especially online.
Just like for adults, the best business for teens is a bit subjective. What might be ideal for one, might be a dud for another. When choosing a business, teens entrepreneurs should consider their talents, interests, and passions, and how they can monetize it. With that said, here are a few home business ideas that are ideal for teens.
Here are some home business ideas for teens, including skills and experience needed, as well as legal issues for teen entrepreneurs that should be considered.
There’s nothing wrong with old-school teen business ideas that provide services to the local community, and in most cases, the teen can start with little skill or experience. Instead, they'll just need a willingness to learn and work hard.
Many residents want and need help with a variety of tasks including:
- Yard Work
- Errand Running
- Household Helper (household help such as cooking, cleaning, laundry)
- House Sitting
- Pet Sitting
- Dog walking
- Children’s Party Organizer
Further, sites like Café Press or TeeSpring offer the opportunity for teens to create a design for a t-shirt, mug, and other items that can be sold online. This eliminates the need for space at home for product creation and inventory.
Teens don’t necessarily have an A+ in art, but they should be able to create a quality product. Great crafty items to consider selling include:
- Decorated T-shirts
- Decorated Totes
- Pillows and other home décor
- Decorated glasses or mugs
- Soap and spa products
Growing up in the digital world, teens are uniquely qualified to provide online services to small businesses. While teens don’t need a degree or technical training, they do need experience and skill, which they often have built on their personal use. Some ideas include:
- Graphic design
- Web Design and programming
- Videographer and video editing
- Audio editing
- Social media management
- Virtual support
Become an Online Star/Influencer
The Internet is littered with celebrity teens who make money online simply by being themselves. Because they’ve generated a following, they’re able to make money through brands and/or ad feeds, and affiliate marketing. Some fun ways teens can do this include:
- YouTube: Starting a video blog on YouTube is a fun way to make money through ad revenue, brand sponsors, and affiliate marketing. A teen can take a hobby or interest and turn it into an online show. For example, many gamers screencast their video games to share on YouTube. Other YouTube stars sing, provide beauty or fashion tips, deliver comedy, share lifestyle tips or insights, provide exercise tips, and more. Or, if video seems like too much work, podcasting is another option.
- Instagram: Similar to YouTube, teen Instagram influencers tend to focus on a passion or interest, such as beauty, fashion, food, pets, or life in general. For the most part, these highly followed teens make money through sponsored shout outs.
- Blogging: Another great way for teens to profit on their interests or passions is through blogging. While teens seem to prefer visual content (i.e. video and social media), blogging is popular too and can expand on other influencer channels such as YouTube and Instagram.
Other Great Home Business Ideas for Teen Entrepreneurs
App Business: Games, job search, homework help, and more! The need for apps will continue to grow and teens, who already use apps for fun and tools, are in the best position to create them. Many community colleges offer courses in app development, or there are books you get to teach yourself.
Computer set up and repair: Most homes have at least one computer, if not more. But just because someone can search Google and buy from Amazon doesn’t mean they know how to set up their computer when they first buy it, or how to troubleshoot issues when something is going wrong. For many families, the first person asked for tech help is a teen since technology is a regular part of their lives. Teens can take advantage of this by charging for computer tech services.
Baking Business: Cupcakes are extremely popular now, but they’re not the only baked good teens can make for a profit. Cakes, cookies, and bread can be baked at home and sold as well. Baked goods can be consigned at local bakeries, stores or restaurants, or at the local farmer’s market. Depending on the item, they can be sold online as well. Many states have laws that regulate the sale of food, and specific rules about selling baked goods from home, so be sure to check your state’s guidelines.
Fulfillment by Amazon: Fulfillment by Amazon allows teens to sell items through its store, and Amazon will inventory, take the order and payment, and ship the item for the teen. All the teen has to do is find discount items that can sell for a profit, list them on Amazon, and ship them to the Amazon warehouse. There is no particular skill or experience required, except for the ability to find a great deal.
Important Issues for Teen Entrepreneurs to Consider
It’s important to know that all businesses, teen-run or otherwise, are subject to regulations, laws, and taxes. To start a home business, a teen needs to:
- Set up the business including obtaining business licenses and any other permits required by the city, county or state the teen is going business in.
- Maintain accurate financial records and pay self-employment taxes.
Further, some of the resources or services teens need may require a parent’s consent or for the parent to create the account.
Finally, like all businesses, the success in a teen-owned business will come from the teen providing a quality product or service, and the ability to reach a buying market. So along with a great home business idea, the teen should create a business plan and marketing strategy.
In many ways, starting a home business is a better way for a teen to make extra money over getting a part-time job. For one, a teen can tap into his interests, passions, and experiences to make money. Second, a business is often flexible, so it can be run around a school and activities schedule. Finally, many home businesses are portable, so when the teen grows up and goes to college or leaves home, the business can often go with him.