Working at a grocery store or becoming a social media influencer aren’t the only ways for teens to make money. This is why we’ve come up with this list of ten cool business ideas for teens.
If you’ve ended up here, chances are you’re looking for ideas to make some extra money. Regardless of your age, it’s never too early to invest in your entrepreneurial spirit, and there are many business ideas you can pursue as a teenager.
And because you might be a little unsure about starting your own business, we’re also giving you some tips on how to stay confident to turn your great business idea into a huge hit.
You ready? Then let’s get started!
10 ways for teens to make money
These small business ideas are the easiest way for young entrepreneurs to start earning some cash. While they might not make you thousands of dollars every month, they are simple to set up, and most require zero money to get started.
1. Offer house-sitting services
Whenever someone in your neighborhood goes on a trip, you can make money by offering to take care of their house while they’re away.
When house-sitting, you’re usually expected to do small chores like watering plants and vacuuming. Some clients might request that you stay overnight, but most will only ask you to drop by once a day to do minor chores and check if everything is okay.
Here are the benefits of starting a house-sitting business:
- You don’t need any money to begin and won’t spend a penny to carry it out. If you need to use public transportation to get to your customer’s house, you can include your expenses on your fees or ask them to cover the fares for you.
- You can rely on word-of-mouth to get new clients. People tend to recommend housesitters to their neighbors and friends. Make sure you do your best when starting out to give a great first impression.
- You can do it year-round or during your school holidays. Holiday breaks and summer vacations are when people need house-sitting the most, so you’ll have no trouble finding customers for those periods.
- It leaves you enough time to study and hang out with friends. Doing small chores won’t take up much of your day, which means it won’t affect your performance in school and you’ll be able to enjoy some free time as well. You might even be able to house-sit for more than one family at once and double your earnings.
✨ The potential
Many innovative businesses start as a side hustle, and this one isn’t any different. The most obvious path for a house-sitting business is expansion: attending to more and more customers, hiring people to help you out and finding a way for people to book your services easily.
In the future, you can develop a website or app where people can offer or look for housesitting services in your area.
2. Start a dog-walking business
Love being around pets? Then this small business idea is perfect for you. Pet owners sometimes don’t have the time to give the best care for their pets, which makes this kind of service really sought after.
The biggest benefit of running this kind of business is that it allows you to make a steady income. People will ask you to walk their dog on a regular basis and pay you weekly/monthly for it.
✨ The potential
Once you get a good number of clients, consider offering other kinds of pet services, like petsitting and dog grooming. You can also expand to launching an online store and selling pet products like treats, toys and cute clothes.
3. Open a car-washing business
Not everyone has the time or the space to clean their car, which creates a great opportunity for you. Offering a car-washing service is one of the coolest business ideas for teens, especially if you love cars but can’t afford to have your own yet.
It’s a low-cost business to start, as you only need some cleaning equipment—most of which you probably already have at home.
There’s a little con to it, though: depending on where you live, if you or your clients don’t have a heated garage, it can be harder to wash their cars during wintertime.
✨ The potential
You have the possibility of creating what we call “upsells”. For example, in addition to cleaning the car from the outside, you could add interior cleaning or even waxing if you’ve got the skills for it. That could make it possible to get bigger orders, and you could even make over $100 per client.
Later on, if you realize working with cars is for you, you can develop your business idea and look into other ways to make money from your passion, such as:
- Renting a space to offer full car-washing services
- Selling car care products online
- Offering car maintenance services like tire and oil change
4. Start a lawn care business
If you have a green thumb or you’ve always been fascinated by plants, offering lawn care services can be a great way to earn some extra cash in your free time. In most cases, your customers will have a lawnmower at home that you can use, but you can always use your own if you have one.
What’s great about this small business idea is that the grass grows back, which makes it likely that your clients will become repeat customers.
However, depending on where you live, lawn mowing might be a seasonal service, so you might need to find another service to keep you busy during the colder months.
✨ The potential
Lots of people want to have a beautiful lawn but have no time (or skills) to maintain it. Once you get really good at it and start building your client base, you have many opportunities to expand your lawn care business:
- Gardening and landscaping
- Selling lawn and plant care products like plant food and sprinklers
- Selling plants online
5. Offer snow and leaf removal services
Here’s why this one made our list of best business ideas for teens: you just need a rake and/or a shovel, and you’re good to go. You don’t need to learn any new skills, although practice will definitely help you get faster and more efficient.
Remember that leaf and snow removal is seasonal, so take that into account when deciding if you want to offer both services or just one of them.
✨ The potential
Because you’ll be offering convenience and not a skill, turning this into a lucrative business can be challenging. However, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you can use your relationship with your customers to begin offering other kinds of useful and profitable services in your area:
- Other cleaning services around the house, such as unblocking gutters, cleaning and replacing air filters, etc.
- Small repairs at home, such as fixing wobbly handrails, changing lightbulbs, unblocking pipes and toilets, etc.
- Remodelling services, like painting, installing appliances and retiling
6. Begin babysitting
This one goes under the “obvious” business ideas for teens, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss it. If you feel comfortable looking after kids, this is a great business for you to start. Here’s why:
- You need zero money to get started. Unlike other business ideas for teenagers on this list, you don’t need to buy any tools or make any sort of investment to begin babysitting.
- You can get repeat customers. Finding a reliable babysitter is really tough. If your first clients are happy with your service, they’re likely to ask you to babysit again, and some might even hire you on a regular schedule.
- Babysitting isn’t seasonal. Parents often need someone to take care of their children while they do other things, whether it’s work or just a night out, and that need doesn’t change according to the weather.
✨ The potential
Babysitting is a service that is always in high demand and can pay really well. How much money you’ll make with this small business idea will depend on the quality of your service and the trust your clients have in you.
Once you begin to build your reputation, consider offering other services that parents would be interested in, such as tutoring and house-sitting. To learn more about these two small business ideas for teens, check out items 1 and 7 on this list.
7. Become a tutor
When you think of tutoring, you probably associate it with a school subject. While you can definitely be a Math or an English tutor, your options don’t end there: you can basically teach anything!
You good at the guitar? Know everything about web design? You speak a foreign language? The number of possibilities is what makes this one of the best business ideas for teens. For any skill you may have, there are lots of people out there who want to learn it, which means you can make a lot of money as a tutor.
Thanks to technology, you don’t have to limit yourself to people in your neighborhood. You can offer online lessons, making it super convenient for you and allowing you to find students anywhere in the world.
Another benefit is that you can have a flexible schedule, as each lesson will only take about 1-2 hours of your time. You get to decide how many students you can take on, how often you can tutor them and at what time of the day.
✨ The potential
Once word gets out that you’re an amazing tutor, more and more people will want to learn from you. Obviously, there are only so many people you can teach on a regular basis, but you can take advantage of the high demand to turn your tutoring business into a source of passive income.
Passive income is when you don’t have to be actively working to make money. Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? One way of making money as a tutor “while you sleep” is to record lessons and sell them on your website or social media. And you can offer the same lessons in different formats (video, audio, ebooks) to different audiences (newbies, advanced students) at different paces (quick or more in-depth lessons).
8. Start a photography business
If you are skilled with a camera, then this is one of the best small business ideas for you! That’s because many people need this service and are willing to pay good money for it.
While you can get started with your phone camera, you’ll need professional equipment to start making more money. Buying a new professional camera can be unaffordable for young people like you, but you still have options in case you don’t have a camera at home.
You can ask around to see if any friends or family members have an unused camera at home you can borrow, or search for used cameras on websites like eBay and Kijiji. No need to get one of those huge cameras, though: a simple, semiprofessional camera will be perfect for you to get started.
But what kind of pictures can you take? How can you make extra money from taking photos? Here are a few suggestions for your photography business:
- Photograph events. Not everyone can afford the best photographers in the world for their wedding or birthday party, so this is where you come in. You can offer to do an event for a family member or friend for free, then use the pictures as a portfolio to book actual clients.
- Photograph products. With so many companies and entrepreneurs out there, there are several people who need professional-looking photos for their businesses. You can start by offering your services to local businesses, such as a bakery or a bookstore, to help them promote their products on social media and other online platforms.
- Sell your photos to stock image websites. If you don’t feel like running after clients or interacting with them directly, you can take a bunch of cool pictures and sell them to stock photo websites like Shutterstock and Unsplash.
✨ The potential
Found out that photography is your calling? Consider becoming a professional photographer. As you start earning more, you can set aside some money to invest in your small business by creating a website to showcase your work and buying more sophisticated equipment to take your pictures to the next level.
Once you get more experience, you make even more money by offering products like printed photo albums and posters, or by offering photography lessons to young people who want to go down the same path you did.
9. Sell handmade products
If you’re good at arts and crafts, then selling crafts online is one of the teenage business ideas you should try. You can either make products from scratch (think pottery, knitting and candle-making) or use your artistic skills to personalize items like T-shirts, tote bags, etc., following a print-on-demand business model.
Yes, it takes time to create handmade products. However, it can be very satisfying to make money off something you made yourself.
Once you have a bunch of items ready to go, you can go to local craft fairs or a craft fair vendor to sell your products. Alternatively, you can make your own website or create a social media account to sell online.
✨ The potential
Whoever said you can’t make money from your art is wrong. It’s a very competitive industry, but you have the advantage of making something unique. If you use social media to your favor, your products can go viral and you can see your small business grow super fast.
You can start with one single product and, as people get interested in what you sell, you can think of variations of the same product or even offer different ones within the same niche.
10. Become a content creator
You don’t need us to tell you that you can make money by creating content online, right? But this is a super popular alternative for young entrepreneurs, so we couldn’t leave it out of our list of business ideas for teens. Sorry!
There’s one thing we can help you with, though: how to do it right and turn your content into a lucrative business.
Whether you decide to write blog posts, become a social media influencer or stream yourself playing video games, the key to making money as an online creator is consistency. It can be hard to always post new content when you’ve got school and other things to do, but the important thing is, just do your best!
To run a successful business as a content creator, you also need to be consistent with the kind of content you make. Want to make some extra cash by playing video games? Then stick to it for a while to have enough time to see results. When we make significant changes to our content every week, it’s even more challenging to keep followers interested in what you have to say.
✨ The potential
Being an online creator is one of the best small business ideas for teens because the possibilities to expand it are endless! In addition to paid ads, here are some things you can do to make even more money:
- Sell merch. Once you build your following, you can sell products related to your content or your brand. For that, you’ll need to build an online store and work with a designer to create your merch.
- Start a social media marketing business. If later on you realize you enjoy creating content strategy more than being the star of your social media channels, then why not offer your expertise to other business owners? With a social media marketing business, you can help people manage their channels and develop the best strategies to reach more followers and sell more on social media.
- Start your own graphic design business. If you’re really good at making graphs, videos and stuff like that, consider offering your services to people who struggle with it. Many content creators could use some help designing a visual identity for their social media channels, for instance, and you can use your experience and skills to expand your content creation business idea.
4 tips for making your business idea come true
Ok, so we’ve given you 10 awesome business ideas for teens to choose from.
Here are some tips to help you start your own business and not feel defeated in the process.
1. Keep it real
While it’s okay to be encouraged by fantastic success stories, you have to keep your two feet on the ground and understand that these are exceptions, not the reality.
So what would be realistic expectations for my small business idea?
Well, that depends on a lot of things, like the type of business you want to start, the time you have to invest in, and so on. To have a better notion of how much money you can make, the best thing you can do is ask those who are in the market already.
Reach out to local businesses or young people who do what you want to do and find out what their experience was like. You might even get some valuable tips from them!
2. Do your homework
We know, we know, you’ve got plenty of homework to do already. But if you want to pursue one of those business ideas for teens, you have to do some research. More specifically, before starting your own small business, you must understand your competitors, as well as your target customers and how your product or service can help them.
With proper research, you’ll know exactly how to sell your products or services. Here are a few questions to help you in this process:
- Who are your customers, and why do they buy from you?
- Where do they spend their time on? What social media platforms do they use?
- What makes you different from the competition?
We’ve also got some resources to help you start and grow your new business:
- Get Ready To Sell On Social Media!
- How Do I Write Product Descriptions for Sales?
- Strategies for Getting New Customers
3. Chill and have fun
Once all the prep work is out of the way, it’s time to start making your teenage business idea a reality. But, before you do, know it will not be a straight road. You’ll have setbacks and probably won’t hit your goals the first time, even with all the preparation.
If you don’t make hundreds of dollars in your first week or you can’t find any customers right away, it’s okay! A lot of small business owners before you have gone through the same thing. Just be patient and, if you’re not happy with your results after a few weeks, circle back to tip #2: do some more research to find out what’s wrong.
And you might roll your eyes over this, but you’re young! You’re supposed to make mistakes and, more importantly, have fun. If one of our teen business ideas begins to make you feel stressed, stop for a bit and figure out if this business idea is worth pursuing.
Business ideas for teens: conclusion
So, as you can see, there are many business ideas for teens to start! In addition to that, you’re now armed with some great tips to make your small business idea a huge success and to have fun while you’re at it.
Whether you’ll start an online business or just provide services in person, whether it’s a soap-making business or music lessons, we have total faith in you. You’ve got this!
Contributed to this article: Andreas Ojala