group of teens hugging and laughing
With a little creativity and ambition, teenagers can find themselves becoming successful entrepreneurs, too. — Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages

With today’s low unemployment rate, teens can easily secure hourly pay. But what about the young entrepreneurs? Opportunities abound for them, too. Here are just 10 teen business ideas to start the conversation.

1. Packing assistant

Every year, millions of people relocate to a new home. Most pay a moving company to handle the big items and pack the rest themselves. But small things add up, and — especially for the elderly — packing a houseful of books, dishes and knick-knacks can quickly become overwhelming.

Open a packing business to assist. Protect and organize your clients’ belongings in preparation for moving day. You can supply the necessary packing materials for an extra fee. Print some business cards and distribute to real estate agents and truck rental companies. Advertise in apartment building lobbies and public bulletin boards.

2. Up-cycling guru

Minimalism is a trend and green is in. Together, they make a business opportunity. Many people who decide to shed unwanted items are unsure how, or simply don’t have the time, to find the right places to donate or recycle those items. That’s where a green recycling business comes in.

Get books to a reseller or a donation box. Deliver dishes, clothes and knick-knacks to charitable thrift stores. Assist with the sale and shipping of items online. Be the expert. Know the recycling options for various items and offer a choice when feasible. Providing clients with receipts will enhance your credibility and lead to referrals.

3. Gardener

It’s a fact of garden life. Just when people want to get away and relax, their tomatoes are crying out for water and weeding. Consider starting a garden tending business to help with these needs.

Since you’ll be using your customers’ equipment, you can commute on foot or bicycle. Advertise early in the season at local garden centers and on public bulletin boards. Let clients know that spending a week’s vacation at the beach doesn’t have to mean returning to a dead garden. Bring this age-old business up to date by sending photos to your customers while they are away.

4. Dog waste removal

Cleaning up behind pets is steady business—the supply is replenished every day. Picking up dog waste isn’t all that bad, though, if you’re getting paid for it — and there’s no equipment necessary.

Also, you know who really hates dog waste? The people who cut the grass. Seek out local lawn services who will refer you to their clients, or even pay you themselves, to show up an hour before them. The best part about this business? Coming up with a clever name.

In the days before smartphones, older was considered wiser. However, when it comes to social media, your young age is an asset.

5. Online sales consultant

Today’s teens are digital natives — knowing, practically from birth, how to buy and sell online. Open a sales support business. Use the apps you love — Poshmark, Thredup, Mercari — to sell not only your own things, but other people’s things, too.

Whether you charge a flat fee, a percentage or a combination of the two, make sure you get compensated for your time, effort and expertise — taking photos, creating the sale post and speaking with buyers — regardless of how the sale goes. Advertise at upscale apartment or condo complexes and offer your service to designer secondhand dealers.

6. Drone instructor

From criminal surveillance to wedding photography, drones have increased in popularity in recent years. If you have the skills required to operate a drone, consider opening a drone training business.

Hand out your business card at hobby shops and put notices on community bulletin boards. Put an ad on Craigslist. People shopping for a drone, or looking to sell one, might be shopping for instruction, too.

7. Social media influencer

Building a social media business doesn’t happen overnight. Becoming an influencer of any size requires hard work and a solid plan. Figure out what your subject is and what value you can add to the conversation. Be genuine but strategic; passionate but organized. Think about what has caused you to follow someone and use those tactics to attract your own audience.

There are lots of ways — affiliate marketing, e-books, sponsored posts — to monetize your blog or your social media accounts, but money comes later — after the hard work and the followers.

8. Photo book creator

Printing sites like Vistaprint and Snapfish can get your book made in just a few days. But putting the content together takes time and talent. Creating a quality book—one you’d give as a gift or save as a family heirloom—requires creativity and an eye for detail. If you’ve got that creativity, start a book creation business.

After your clients upload their photos, you do the tedious work of cropping, centering, choosing backgrounds, providing captions and proofreading. Consider specializing in baby books, cookbooks or vacation adventure stories. Build a website to publicize your service, showcase your work and collect endorsements.

9. Parents’ helper

Child care is a tried-and-true teen money maker. The demand is steady — even stay-at-home parents need some time away from the kids. Partner with some reliable friends and open a parents’ helper business.

Give your business a name and create a website to set you apart from the hourly baby sitter. Get some training and post your certification(s) on line. If practical, integrate your interests — cooking, soccer, arts and crafts — into your business name and marketing.

10. Social media consultant

In the days before smartphones, older was considered wiser. However, when it comes to social media, your young age is an asset. Teens know how to post credibly and influentially, and smart professionals looking to promote their businesses know this.

Start with small, local businesses that are just getting with the social media program. Write blogs, create Facebook pages and manage Instagram accounts. Don’t forget to create a website and social media accounts of your own to advertise your services.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published June 04, 2019