Do you like the idea of having your own part-time business, but don’t know what you want to sell? Check out my categorized list of products and services that are perfect for the teen entrepreneur. And don’t worry. I left lemonade stands off the list.
- Babysitting: Babysitting is a tried and true favorite. Consider taking a first aid course at your local hospital. This will give you some creditability and your clients peace of mind.
- Party Assistant: Offer to help families with their child’s birthday party. You can be an extra set of hands before, during and after the party.
- Host Events: Once established as a trustworthy and involved sitter, try hosting a field day at a park or a Parent’s Night Out event and charge per child. This may also pose a good opportunity to team up with a responsible friend.
- Spring/Summer: Mowing, gardening and basic yard work
- Fall: Raking leaves and preparing gardens for cooler temperatures
- Winter: Shoveling snow
- Pet-Sitting: This won’t be consistent income as you’re relying on clients to leave town for extended periods of time. But, if you prove yourself worthy for the job, you will be called upon every time they need a sitter for their furry companion. If you have credibility with animal care, advertise it. Make sure potential customers are aware if you have volunteer experience with your local shelter or animal hospital.
- Dog-Walking: People may not leave town often, but many families have hectic schedules that keep them away from home all day. Offer to make daily visits to walk and play with the family pet. If skilled, offer to bathe the animal on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule.
- Typing: Use your fast and accurate typing skills to re-type documents. If you have family friends who rent homes, offer to update their leasing contract or to create a digital copy for their records.
- Photographs: Convert printed copies of pictures into scanned, digital images. Create albums or slide shows and provide discs or flash drives of the finished product to your clients.
- Video Game Reviews: If you’re into video games, check out sites that pay for written reviews. Compensation isn’t immediate and only if you’re review is published, but my boyfriend has found success sending submissions to IGN and Video Game Trailers.
- Bake Sale: Organize a bake sale for after school in the commons or during the neighborhood garage sale.
- PTO Cookies: Busy parents can use help preparing for class parties and PTO meetings. Take orders to fulfill their baking obligations for each school function. Same goes for church gatherings or other community events.
- Catering: If you’re skilled in the kitchen, prepare ready-to-heat meals at client’s request. You can choose to deliver the same day or to provide home-cooked, frozen entrées. Who knows, your family may even take you up on this offer.
- Tutoring: Share your knowledge of a subject and tutor younger grades. This can be very profitable if you help raise your student’s grade!
- Arts & Crafts: If you’re skilled in creating a product, sell it! Jewelry, paintings and greeting cards can be sold individually or at local craft fairs. Tailoring and sewing is also a needed craft by many households.
- Teach: Do you excel in a special talent? Host private lessons or see about teaching at the local community center or a summer school program.
- Coach: If athletics or sports are your thing, see about helping train a younger athlete. Now remember, physical fitness can be dangerous if not executed and supervised properly. Make sure you’re coaching within your abilities, and by all means, take a first aid course in case of an emergency.
- Independent Sales Rep: Put your sales skill to work and join a company as an independent worker. Check out Mark makeup and Lia Sophia jewelry.
- Candy Vendor: Buy candy at wholesale and set up shop before or after class and during athletic events.
- Gift Baskets: Prepare unique gift baskets for special occasions. For ideas, check out my Secret Santa entry from December, or this site for additional gift basket ideas.
- Team Spirit: Design a t-shirt for your school team and take orders through a printing company. Your city may have a local merchant you can use or check out options online like CustomInk.com. Just make sure you’re not using any images or slogans that have a copyright.
- Car Wash: Plan an event with multiple friends or offer this as a regular service to your personal clients.
- Detailing: You can call this “The Works” and vacuum the interior, wipe hard services, clean windows, scrub tires, then end with a wash and wax. Add an air freshener to the rear view mirror as your signature finishing touch.
- At Home: Get your family involved in the environment-friendly cause. This won’t be a completely lucrative project, but companies out there will still pay a few dimes for your efforts. And again, it’s all in favor of Mother Earth.
- Pick-Up Service: Involve your neighborhood with your recycling efforts. Advertise a designated date to pick-up sorted recyclables (or charge extra to sort it yourself). You could also consider charging a small start-up fee if you provide the containers for sorting.
- Party Performer: Can you paint faces? Make balloon animals? Do magic? Draw caricatures? Want to try out your luck as a ventriloquist or puppeteer? These talents, as well as many others, would fit nicely at a child’s birthday party.
- Concert: Enter shows or contests to share your musical or comedic talents. It may not be guaranteed compensation, but if someone likes you, that could turn into an opportunity of itself. And if you do win a monetary prize it was time well spent!
- Consignment: Clean out your closet and take used, but clean, clothing to a local consignment shop. Some pay on the spot, others will pay a percentage after the garment is sold. Use this practice for you personal wardrobe or turn into a business by handling client’s resell items. You keep a percentage of what they earn.
- Garage Sale: Host your own or participate in the neighborhood sale. If you host your own, offer to sell other families’ items for a percentage of their profits.
Do you feel inspired yet!? Take an idea from this list or use it as a starting place for your very own business. What do you love? What are you good at? Get to thinking, then get to work!
For more advice, check out Randal Hansen’s article “Teen Business Do’s and Don’ts.”