In every group with teens, that I facilitate or teach, I ask the BIG question! Do you have a job? Inevitably, I get lots of blank stares and few raised hands. During the awkward silence, parents often chime in telling me that their teenager can’t work because they aren’t 16 or 18 yet. While it has gotten harder to find typical jobs for your teens and tweens with the age increasing on almost every job requirement, in other ways, helping your teenager find a job is easier than ever! Let’s think outside of the box today, as I share 12 smart small business ideas for teenagers and tweens!
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Benefits of a Part-time Job for Teenagers
A part-time job for a teenager is more than “it’s time you got a job.”
A part-time job teaches your teenager to work hard, to think on their feet, and to take instructions from others.
Side jobs also give your teenager the opportunity to learn how to manage money, to acquire new skills, and to understand what they love to do (or hate to do).
With all the amazing benefits to working, we definitely want to help our teenagers. But as parents we also have to consider how we are going to get them to work, conflicts with other activities and sports, and the age limitations. Ugh, now the teenage job doesn’t seem possible.
But before you give up let’s consider all the job possibilities other than flipping hamburgers at the local fast-food place.
Why Your Teenager or Tween Should Start a Small Business
A small business has so many added benefits to the regular part-time job. When your tween or teenager starts a small business they can:
- Start working while they are still a tween.
- Create a flexible schedule that works with their other activities.
- Learn business practices like investing, capital gains and net worth.
- Focus on doing work they love.
- Make more income than the typical minimum wage job.
- Gain confidence as they make business decisions and work with customers.
- And develop a love for entrepreneurship!
A Micro Business is the Best Business for Teenagers
I first learned about something called a “micro business” at a homeschool convention I attended years ago. As I was eager to learn ways to encourage my teen to be more entrepreneurial, my interest was peaked! What was a micro business?
A micro business is a small business for teenagers that they can start from home during their tween or teenager years. With a little investment to get started, teens have created some amazing businesses.
Small Business Ideas for Teenagers
Here are 15 small business ideas for teenagers to get your wheels turning!
House Cleaning Micro Business for Tweens
As a teenager, I hated babysitting! Unless I really knew the kids well I did NOT want to babysit. Fortunately, there was a lady in my church that worked full-time and wanted some help with cleaning.
At the time, I was only a tween, but I would be dropped off and would work with this church friend cleaning. I usually did the weekly tidying like kitchen and bathrooms. But I would also be given different tasks each week, dependent on what she wanted us to focus on cleaning.
Later, I was able to branch out and pick up other cleaning jobs. Household cleaning was much more rewarding than babysitting, for me, and it paid better!
Pet Sitting Small Business for Teenagers
People love their pets and are willing to pay a responsible teenager to look after the beloved family pet. If your teenager just loves being around animals consider a pet sitting business.
Your teenager can start small by watching a neighbor’s pet while they are away on vacation. And if they do a good job, the neighbor can be a great reference to get the next job.
Often couples, who work full-time, hire someone to walk their dog during the day. Or if you live near an airport, you may have pilots or flight attendants that need their animals cared for when they are gone on overnight trips!
Audio Visual Tech for Live Events
Laura from Almost Empty Nest shared this fabulous small business experience.
My son, Ethan, filmed his first wedding when he was only 11 years old. He volunteered to do it and we thought the bride was a bit crazy for agreeing, but he did a great job with mom and dad acting as production assistants. My husband refused to allow him to charge this family friend, but it helped launch many paying gigs.
As a tween and teen he filmed weddings and gymnastics meets for his sister’s teammates, created promotional videos for several businesses, and transferred old VHS tapes and other media to digital files for customers. As his skills grew through production and editing training from a program at his high school, he was able to showcase his work and charge more. He even set up a booth at a wedding show his freshman year of college and received several jobs.
As he looks toward a career in the film industry (he is now a busy film student at the University of Texas) the experience he received as a tween and teen was invaluable for practicing his skills, learning to deal with clients, and learning what to charge.
Photography Business for Teens
When it came time to get College Boy’s senior pictures, we went with a fellow teen. College Boy picked two teens that had small photography businesses on the side. We were given price quotes from both of them, along with what services they offered.
We were all very pleased with his senior pictures. The senior package price was great for us, but the quality and pictures were still amazing! And for a few hours work, the student photography was making almost $20 an hour!
An added bonus…our teenager was so comfortable with the photographer that we all loved the genuine smiles from our senior!
Car Flipping as a Small Business Idea for Students
Once, I had a young man in my class tell me that he wasn’t working anywhere. As he was 15 or 16, I was disappointed, and so I asked him a few questions as to why. Come to find out he was too busy flipping cars!
This creative young man was buying cars on Craigslist, fixing them up and then selling them back on Craigslist. He loved working on cars, so buying older cars with some problems and fixing them was great fun to him. What a great idea to use the skills he had already learned!
And yes, I told him that he was actually working:)
Etsy Seller for Teens
The internet has opened up so many doors for both moms and teens to be able to work from home. Starting an Etsy shop selling a craft or homemade item is definitely among the best business ideas for students!
If you have a creative teenager, look into selling their items online through Etsy. Etsy does take a commission, but Etsy offers a safe, easy way to get up and running quickly.
Baking as a Small Business for Teens
Do you have a baker at home? We have known several young ladies that have either created a small cupcake business or sold their baked goods at a local farmer’s market.
Check out the options in your area and what the regulations are for selling.
Sewing Micro Business for Tweens and Teens
Currently, Teen Red is in the beginning stages of creating a sewing business. She is making welding caps for her dad and his work buddies. We had to find a pattern that worked. And then, since I don’t sew, we have worked with a friend in our homeschool group to learn how to sew welding caps that are well made and comfortable.
Teen Red likes to sew, so we felt like this was a unique way to use her talents. There is a need for the welding caps, as the women who previously supplied most of them, stopped making them. And with each cap she makes, Teen Red is becoming more proficient!
My niece, who is a senior in high school, started making costumes several years ago. She does some of the work herself and other pieces of the costumes, she hires others to make. She has gained a reputation for quality work so she only opens her sales page every so often , otherwise she would have too much work! Instagram has been a helpful place to advertise her business.
I heard of a teen offering a dance camp in her backyard in between her college years, while another teen offered a craft camp. Has your teen been having lessons (music, dance, art, etc…) for years and loves working with kids? Consider offering a summer camp for several weeks in the summer.
Parents are often looking for fun, affordable activities for their kids to do during the summer. What would seem like a bargain for the parents, will still add up to lots of earned income in several weeks for your teenager.
Animal Breeding Small Business
Does your tween or teen love animals? Consider animal breeding as a way to learn about animals and earn income from home. We purchased a full blooded female German Shepherd as a household pet when our daughter was 10. When Daisy dog was old enough to breed, she had 9 puppies.
I knew nothing about puppies, as this was a plan Tween Red and her dad had hatched. So I had a crash course on puppy raising! Tween Red and I learned to change puppy papers and clean their cage. We took the puppies on walks, talked with them and fed them. And we had them trained to pee outside on command by time they were 6 weeks old (cutest site ever seeing 9 puppies peeing on command:)
Now there are people that feel VERY strongly against breeding animals, as there are some breeders that don’t care about the animals. But all the people and other breeders we interacted with were very caring and helpful, so it was a very positive, if exhausting experience;) Daisy dog has retired as a momma and since furthered her career as a farm dog!
Currently, Teen Red has a cow, named Jenny that she is helping to raise. Jenny has had two offspring so far, so Teen Red has tripled her profits.
Landscaping Small Business for Teens
Sarah from Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting shared this exciting small business success she witnessed in a family friend’s son.
At age 15, Matthew started mowing lawns. While that’s not uncommon for a boy his age, he’d spent most of his life “not quite” able to do what the other kids his age could. Diagnosed with severe learning disabilities and dyslexia as a young child, he was always in classes for kids far younger than him, and disappointingly, treated as if he didn’t quite fit in anywhere.
By mowing lawns, though, he found a skill that put him on par with other boys his age. He was strong and fast and good; he quickly had neighbors lining up to pay him. People respected him and he found a way to “fit in” among his peers. Moreover, he learned budgeting and managed to save up for a very special trip with his best friend’s family.
Music Lesson Micro Business for Teenagers
As a parent, I know that it can be hard to get your kids to music lessons. And sometimes the cost of music lessons can be prohibitive! If you have a teenager that loves music and has had lessons for years, consider a micro music business.
Your teenager can either offer lessons at your home or could travel to others homes, offering several children in one home lessons! By working with beginner students, your teenager will be able to offer a wonderful, needed service.
How do You Start a Small Business for Teenagers
Super excited for your teenager to start their own small business, but not sure what to consider? Grab a copy of the book and workbook, Starting a Micro Business for Teens by Carol Topp. Starting a Micro Business will walk you and your teen through brainstorming business options, creating a business plan, getting started and finances.
Starting a Micro Business is super helpful in walking you and your teen through the process. I appreciated how the book encouraged my teen to think of best strategies and raise awareness about pitfalls, without overwhelming them! Ms. Topp does a fabulous job of writing to teens, helping your teenager get up and running on their small business idea. PLUS, you will learn even more micro business ideas to get you and your teen thinking:)
You can also purchase the workbook along with the book. The workbook is not absolutely necessary, but it does prompt a better follow through on the assignments. Your teen will have a place to complete the brainstorming, budget and business plan sections.
12 Smart Small Business Ideas for Teenagers
Has your tween or teen ever started a small business? Share below what they did! We would all love to hear more ideas!
Have you heard of a micro business? What business idea seems fun and doable for your teen?
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Amalia Love says
I love most of these ideas, but I don’t exactly think animal breeding is a good idea. While it is a good profit, it doesn’t benefit the animal community overall. Instead of people going to shelters and adopting, they will be coming to the breeder. This will put animals lives at risk as they could be euthanized if they don’t find a home fast enough. Also, instead of encouraging extra babies, try doing TNR ( trap, neuter, return). This helps stop unwanted pregnancies in animals and helps keep shelters open enough to accept animals. Thank you for the idea, but please do not promote it. As an animal activist I’m here to educate people on things they might not know about the animal world and its needs. Thanks
Hi Amalia, I love that you care so much for animals! We adore our stray and shelter pets that we have adopted. You are so right that spaying and neutering pets is something we should try to do. Our local shelters even have programs to help with keeping the cost down, which we have taken advantage of on numerous occasions. Breeding animals is not something to be taken lightly. In our interaction with breeders we mostly found only other animal lovers. Breeding our German Shepherd was a very positive experience for our family. And it definitely made our daughter even more conscious of the need to learn to care for animals, right from the start. Those first 8 weeks are pivotal. But I do appreciate you sharing your educated experience with us and reminding us to be aware of the animals at shelters that are waiting for a forever home!
A truly better way to be more “conscious of the need to learn to care for animals” is to teach our children the importance of spaying/neutering/adopting by fostering those animals that are pregnant and need a safe environment to have their babies, not by making the problem worse and actually contributing to the over population. Every animal rescue in every community could use foster help, including help with pregnant animals, making the experience even more positive.
Hi Deena! I love all your suggestions! Yes, spaying/neutering/adopting is very important. And local shelters often have days where they offer low cost neutering and spaying. I think we have had our fur babies come to us in a variety of ways. Some from a local shelter, some have been abandoned and left on our property and some we adopted locally. Thankful for the blessing of each one. Thank you for your respectful comment on sharing something you are passionate about teaching others!
Lissett R Bonilla says
What is your recomendation in regrds of doing cosmetic products of course simple ones such as lip scrubs for smooth lips, lip gloss balm, or body shimmer oil.Please I would appreciate to hear your comments. Thank you!
I have seen a couple moms either make their own cosmetic products to sell or join a company like Mary Kay and sell. One of the moms had her teen daughters join in as part of the process. They packaged items and learned basic business skills which they later used to sell hand made jewelry. Cosmetics are definitely an item that women always want to purchase. As a parent, I would want to help my teenager create a basic business plan and decide on how much they want to invest in to buy or create cosmetics products to get started. And I would expect my teenagers to come up with the initial investment to get started, that way they are more likely to work harder. I highly recommend purchasing the book Micro Business for Teens mentioned in the post! That will help you as you work with your teen to create a workable plan, starting small and growing as your teenager defines their market. Sounds like FUN!
OK, Hi I’m 14 and I will be 15 in 6 months and I plan on being my mom’s assent for her business I will be getting paid I”m also going to do other side hustles for money because when I turn 16 I wanna launch my business. Being an business owner has always been my dream and it still is and I don’t wanna wait until I’m 25 or 30 to start you know ? I’m young so I would know what my audience would want, I wanna sell lashes clothes lip gloss shoes purses but I want my own brand name. I’m ready physically and mentally to start my business as a teenager I don’t wanna go to a 4 year college for business now I will go to a 2 year college I just feel like college is not for me but I literally dream about my business and I feel like God wants me to do this like having my business is really my passion ask anybody! But my grandmother feels like I should wait till I finish college and start my business at like 25 and I’m just like NO NO NO NOOO Like I wanna take a summer business class and I’ll even read a book but what do you guys think should I wait or just pressure my dream now!
HI Taylor, that is wonderful that you have a vision and a desire to create a business! No, I don’t think you need to wait til you are 25, but you do need your support team’s (mom and grandmothers) blessing. God has placed them in your life and I’m sure they care for you very much. They are going to have the wisdom that you will need as you plan out your business. Here are 3 things I would encourage you to try to let your family know that you are serious about creating a business. One, save up your own money that you will need to invest in starting a business. Pick a small business idea (perhaps even an idea that already has a framework like Mary Kay) to start with first. I know you want your own brand now but first you need to learn how to run a business. And you want to be a smart business woman who is careful with her money. And lastly, I would encourage you to purchase and work through the book suggested above, Micro Business for Teens! Thanks for reaching out! Excited about all the possibilities ahead of you:)
malaya montgomery says
Hi I want to jump start a business I am fourteen and have no idea what I should so can you please help I want to be a youtuber but I don´t have a big audience and I would love to grow a audience but its hard i don´t know what type of content to make and I need advice in like camera and content and how to grow a bigger audience I have tiktok but cant have other socials can you also give me job tips
Hi Malaya, It sounds like you have a variety of interests which is great at your age. Before you start a business, I would think about your motives behind your goals. Who do you want to help? What do you hope to accomplish in starting a YouTube business (make money, be famous, help others…?). And think about what experiences or interests are unique to you that you can share with others. What do you love to do or talk about with others? Becoming a YouTuber is typically a long game, so if a person is just motivated by the desire to be famous or rich then they will lose interest in it very quick. If however, someone wants to learn new skills, make money and help others by sharing their unique interests, it will be worth all the work. If you decide you really want to become a YouTuber I would find a few quality YouTubers to follow. See if they recommend a course on making videos. Watch as many free videos as you can on camera and video editing and then choose a course to pay for to learn even more (after you save up the money for the course). Even if you don’t become famous on YouTube I guarantee that the time you spend learning to create good content and edit videos will be a valuable experience! And or course make sure that you have a parent or another adult mentor reviewing your content to make sure that you are being safe online!
Hello! I’m 14, soon to be 15 this coming September, I have a strong passion for having a small business at my age. I’m currently stucked up at which business is good for a penniless student/teen (Not that penniless, could still afford meals, and etc). Can you help me by suggesting some small business to start up at my situation? (What I have in mind is selling scrunchies that is inspired by some popular kpop group’s outfit)). Also I’m not good at pricing items, can you maybe help me out of it as well?
Hi Kat, I love your enthusiasm and creativity! I think your idea about selling scrunchies is a great idea. Whatever business idea you go with use what you have. So if you have access to a sewing machine then use the one you have or buy a used one. Don’t go buy the best and most expensive sewing machine ever when you are just getting started. When it comes to pricing you need to figure in your material and your time involved. This may take you doing something a couple of times before you have a clear idea how much material, thread, elastic, you need to make your product plus the time involved in cutting and sewing. Then figure out how much you want to make an hour. Let’s say that you want to make $10 an hour and it takes you an hour to make 4 scrunchies. And with 4 scrunchies, you need 1/2 yard of fabric plus supplies for a total cost of $1 per scrunchie. This means you would need to charge at least $3.50 a scrunchie to make $10 an hour once you minus your cost involved. Obviously, if you used special fabric your cost per scrunchie goes up. Or if you take unique orders and get better, you may wish to charge more:) Hope these ideas help getting you thinking!! Best wishes!