How To Start A Business For Teens This Summer

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Ever since I was young, I had a little bit of an entrepreneurial taste in my mouth.  I’ve dabbled with a few things here and there, but never had a full fledged business as a teen.  However, every summer I always made enough money to take care of my outlandish teen expenses.  So, here’s …

A Step By Step Guide To Starting a Summer Business For Teens

Here are some possible summer business ideas for teens that would make a great business for teens during the summer months.

  1. Sell items on Ebay – here are some tips to get you started.  You’ll probably need a little money to kick off the process, so you might need to dip into savings or have a conversation with mom and dad.  See Make Money on Ebay: 15 Strategies and Where to Find Inventory to Sell on Ebay.
  2. Baby sitting – in a guest post I wrote, I was amazed at the average hourly pay for a babysitter.  If you have managerial skills, you could even go one step further and set up a baby sitting co-op.  Parents place a call to you and you organize with one of your friends who will go. This might be a little more complicated, but parents know it only takes one call to find a sitter.
  3. Lawn service – you’ll be surprised at how much money you can make with a lawn mower and a grass trimmer.
  4. Do some writing.  There are a lot of online sources that will pay for writing.  If you are considering a writing career, you could probably do alright finding some writing gigs online.  Check out a site like www.elance.com to see your income potential.
  5. Tutor or instruct – there is a good chance that you have a skill that someone is seeking.  Why not teach swimming lessons, teach crafts, or teach the piano?
  6. Baking.  Make cakes for birthday parties and other social events.  Most people these days don’t have or take time in the kitchen.

Here are 50 best part time jobs.  These might help you think of some good business ideas for teens.

Now that you’ve decided on a business, you need to be sure that this thing is going to make a profit.  Here’s how:

Create a sentence to describe the business.

I know you might only be cutting grass or teaching piano, but having a mission statement is crucial for you and your potential customers.  In one sentence, you should be able to describe what they will get when they use your service and how you will help them.

Here are some suggestions:

Relax and spend time with the family this summer and let me cut the grass. 

Don’t just entertain the kids – educate them with my personalized piano lessons.

Get a night out with out the kids without breaking the bank.

Be sure to focus on emotions because people tend to spend money based on emotions.

Market and network your teen business

It is absolutely essential that people know about you and your ‘company’.  Here are ten suggestions on how to market your business with only a little money.

  • Hand out business cards
  • Offer a discount when existing customers tell a friend.
  • Send an email to all your contacts.
  • Go fishing – go to where the business is.  Put yourself in places where your potential customers will be.
  • Ask someone to put up a sign at their work place.
  • Check with the proper town authorities to see if you can put up posters around your neighborhood.
  • Leave something that details your work with every job you do.
  • Set up a website or contact an existing website and ask them if you can do a guest post.
  • Put an announcement in your church bulletin.
  • Send a thank you card after every job.
  • Put an add in your local paper

    Keep up with accounting and bookkeeping tasks

    For a small teen business, you don’t need to worry about incorporating or getting an LLC.  Just start making some money and be sure you are keeping good records.  Remember, just because you receive cash does not mean that you don’t need to pay taxes on that money.  Every dollar you make must be accounted to the IRS.  As a general rule of thumb, you should set aside between 15-25% of every dollar you make to help pay your quarterly taxes.

    Any time you make or spend any money related to the business, make sure you write it down.  The simplest thing would be to make a simple excel document that has the following columns – date, expense, income, details.  From there, be sure to keep track of all of your expenses.  This includes any products used to help grow your business.  Be sure to write down every time you get paid.  This way you will have an accurate income to report to the IRS.  Also, if you are thinking about opening a Roth as a teen, you will need this documentation.

    You might want to consider a personal finance software to help track your business income.

    How Much Should Your Business Charge For Services?

    My guess is that most business for teens will probably under price their services.  Here are some tips on getting the pricing right.

    • Be sure you are charging at least minimum wage.  You might even consider minimum wage plus a premium, say 15-20% or more.
    • Ask people who pay for the services what they typically pay.
    • Review your schedule.  If your work is filling up very quickly, then start slowly increasing the price.
    • Always state a price.  This is much less awkward than the “pay whatever you think I deserve” line.  It makes people uncomfortable and they probably won’t be repeat customers.
    • Include pricing for any extra perks you might include that others overlook.
    • Offer small discounts to people who prepay so you won’t need to worry about collecting money that is due.

    Finish The Summer Well

    One last thing to keep in mind is that it is really important how you finish because you might be interested in the job next summer.  Sometimes you might create a company where the business actually is worth something.  If you need to cut grass a few weeks into the school year, do your best to satisfy the customers.  Send a thank you letter to everyone who you worked with and let them know your availability during the school year. 

    What tips do you have for teens who want to start a small business this summer?

  • Comments

      • says

        @Forest
        Blogging is a great way to make some extra money, but I’m not sure in 3-4 months in the summer that a teen could pull of enough income to make it work. However, if they kept up with it until the next summer it would be a great project.

    1. says

      I think it pays to ask people if they know of anyone who might be interested in the service. Most people want to help, so even if they don’t need the service themselves, they might offer up contacts.
      .-= Jackie´s last blog ..How to Get Out of Debt =-.

    2. says

      As far as marketing your business, maybe asking for testimonials from happy customers, and placing them on your fliers or other material can give you added credibility.

      And when describing your business, maybe you can state the benefits of your services using facts and figures. For instance, “Lawns will be mowed within and hour!” or something similar. That way, customers can get a better idea of your service. You can then underpromise, and overdeliver so that you exceed expectations and create more satisfied customers.
      .-= Darren´s last blog ..How To Find The Right Financial Planner Using 10 Questions =-.

    3. Rachel says

      Craig,
      Thanks for this awesome list. Morgan was very excited by all of your suggestions, especially your idea of writing. She feels she has a gift in this area and would like to pursue it later in some form. Great ideas!

    4. says

      I am 18 and my sister is 14. We have been crafting and selling for about six years. We are trying to get our business boosted in order to sell some major inventory. I am hoping to be able to help with my college costs this coming fall by working our business much harder. We mostly have sold at craft shows and the farmer’s market in the summer. We are looking for new ways to sell. You can check out our stuff on our public facebook page under “2 Busy Chicks Designs”. Please check it out, “like” it to follow us, and give us your opinions on how we can grow!

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