If you’re like me, your grandad has been telling you to get a job since you were about eight.
“Back in my day,””when I was your age,” and “it’s time to start contributing” are the starts of conversations I have heard all too often.
But what if, instead of getting your first job running papers around the suburbs for a few measly dollars, you could create your own job?
As technology continues to develop, more and more opportunities are becoming available for young teens to create their own businesses, often from the comfort of their own homes.
So, if you’re an aspiring young entrepreneur (or a parent that wants to stop giving your kid an allowance), read our list of the best small business ideas for teens.
Why Start a Business in Your Teenage Years?
Aside from the fact that a successful business brings with it more money for you to spend (no more nagging your mom!), there are also many other benefits to starting a business in your teens.
Regardless of whether you plan to go to college or not, take a gap year, or jump into a job, you still have plenty of time to test out creating your own business first!
There is only so much that reading books and listening in class can teach you about life. To really learn about something and develop hands-on skills, you need to be contributing rather than simply consuming.
At the very least, setting up your own business is incredibly attractive for colleges as it shows your drive, desire, and forward-thinking.
It’s also a fantastic way to build up your experience and network with professionals, which will make it much easier for you to get a job in the future.
Plus, it’ll keep your parents off your back when you say you need to spend more time on your laptop…
Disclaimer: Some platforms, tools, or regions require you to be at least 18 to register. We advise you always ask for the consent of a parent or guardian before attempting to start a business.
Don’t Skip: 19 Reasons to Start a Business
7 Small Business Ideas for Teens
The world of streaming skyrocketed during Covid-19, with many of us spending time watching our favorite gamers rage quit games of Minecraft or live vicariously through IRL streamers who were actually allowed outside.
So much so, that the Verge estimated that the live-streaming sector grew by 45% in the first two months alone, and the industry grew by more than 99%!
Since then, the industry has only continued to grow, and with the advancements in technology making streaming equipment more affordable than ever, this could be a great option for anyone who loves spending time online or playing multiplayer games.
However, it can take time to build up your audience, so don’t expect to make money right away.
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If you’re a fan of business, economics, and digital design, setting up an ecommerce brand could be the way to go. Websites like Shopify or Squarespace have made it easier than ever to create a website, purchase a domain name, and start selling your chosen goods or services online.
Dive Deeper: How to Start an Ecommerce Business
3. When mom gives you lemons, make lemonade
There’s a reason that you see kids flocking to the bake sales or lemonade stands during times of financial crisis in popular movies.
And the little girl down the road flipping granola bars and homemade soda every month while her dad mows the lawn isn’t just doing it for fun.
They’re doing it because it works!
Don’t expect to make a full-time career selling refreshing citrus drinks from your garden, but do expect your neighbors to be generous with their purchases, helping you make some much-needed additional pocket money.
Card readers are also much more accessible now, making it easier to take payments, and giving even your stingiest neighbors no excuse when it comes to payment.
Dive Deeper: How to Make Money on the Side
4. Get crafty
Do you spend time making handmade goods in your spare time? Would you be willing to part with them for reams and reams of cash?
Okay, maybe not reams and reams, but you can certainly make money selling your handmade goods on websites like Etsy or eBay.
People love purchasing unique items and helping small businesses, so with a little design and business nous, you could quickly create a profitable business.
Dive Deeper: How To Start An Etsy Shop
5. Design websites and online stores
If you spend lots of time online, chances are you could make money by designing websites or online stores. Many small business owners do not know how to do this, but it is a crucial component of almost any business.
Squarespace and other websites allow you to design websites using a drag-and-drop format, so you don’t need to be an expert in coding to set up this type of business, and you can learn new skills and increase your rates as you learn on the job.
Dive Deeper: 16 Ways to Find (and Win) Your Dream Clients
6. Make use of your “social” skills
Do you often feel like you spend hours wasting time scrolling through TikTok, YouTube Shorts, or Instagram Reels?
Well, what if you were able to put those skills to use?
Short-form video is rapidly becoming a staple of any marketing campaign, regardless of the brand, due to the volume of exposure it offers.
The only issue? Many Gen Xers and boomers don’t have a clue what TikTok or Reels really is. They didn’t grow up with it like you did, and as a result, many brands are either doing the wrong thing on social media or nothing at all.
And that’s where you come in, and all those hours of endless scrolling suddenly come in handy. Running social accounts for brands can take a little work to get started with, but once you are able to show your results, you can quickly scale your business and grow from there.
Short-form video and social media aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, making this a great option to get started with in your teens.
Dive Deeper: How to Make Money on TikTok – 15 Surefire Ways
7. Dip your toe into AI
Finally, let’s explore the world of AI and the opportunities it brings with it.
What AI’s ultimate role within society will be is still unknown, but for now, it presents some interesting business opportunities, especially for the younger generation.
While your parents are still trying to work out if it’s called “ChatGTP” or “ChatGPT,” you have an opportunity to turn this new tech into business opportunities.
Whether it’s using your tech skills to create your own AI chatbot, upskilling yourself on the tools to start teaching others, or consulting on AI for businesses, AI offers plenty of unique opportunities for you to take advantage of.
Frequently Asked Questions About Business Ideas for Teens
How can I start a successful business as a teenager?
1- Identify profitable niche. 2 – plan and research. 3- Seek guidance. 4- Start small. 5- Adapt and innovate.
Can I own a business as a teenager?
Yes, teenagers can own and operate their own businesses, but there may be legal restrictions and requirements depending on the jurisdiction.
What online business can I start as a 15-year-old?
Streaming, ecommerce, start a neighborhood services business, sell handmade goods on Etsy, or design websites and online stores.
Keep Learning: Business Ideas for Women Entrepreneurs
The Pocket Money Ends Now!
Teens, now you have all the information you need to get started with your very own business. Parents, now you have all the encouragement you need to get your teenager off to the perfect start!
We have a series of stories from successful business people that started as teenagers:
Also, whatever your business idea might be, ensure you check out our free training to help ensure it gets going on the right foot.