More and more teens are getting jobs while still in school, either to pay for things parents won’t buy or to help with the family’s income. Besides the obvious fast food or retail jobs, there aren’t many opportunities out there. Why not learn the hustle of starting your own business?
Starting your own business isn’t hard if you have the determination, but it takes a bit of time to plan and get it going. You use your critical thinking skills to figure out what kind of a business you can be successful doing. Starting your own business doesn’t even need much money, if any, to get started. A teen can look at different business ideas based on their interests and passions or even think about the things they buy the most to get ideas based on profitability.Brea and Halle Holmes founders and CEOs of Sweet Dream Girlz
Below are 5 simple steps to follow to get your business started. Timing is also important, if you start on your idea in the spring you could launch your idea in time for summer break.
1. Start with a good idea.
Go do new things and see what interests you. Also observe the people around you and see what everyone complains about, that’s usually a sign that a solution is needed. Your next step is to select an idea and create a brainmap that outlines how this idea will evolve into a business.
2. Create a plan of action.
This will help you be successful. Start on your business plan, which details what your business is about and helps you set goals for your business. It spells out in a step-by-step method what the business is, how you will market your business, what you need to start your business (money, supplies), and how you will grow your business. This doesn’t have to be a hefty 50 page bible on your business, nowadays the more creative you get with your presentation the better. Powerpoints, slideshows, videos, whatever you think will get people to fall in love with your idea.
3. Come up with ways to monetize your idea.
How will you make money? Will you give some things away for free or charge for every part of your business? Sometimes it’s good to give people a sample or to “dangle a carrot”. Give them a teaser of what they really want and then charge them for the full experience or product.
4. Get help as you grow.
If your business is successful, you will need a support system that will help with the growth. Never be afraid to ask for help and find a mentor that will become your biggest cheerleader. Don’t just bring friends on board because they’re bored or you’ve known them since kindergarten. Bring people in because they have a skill and add value to your business. Sometimes this is how you start new friendships, you may end up working with that kid you’ve never spoken to in the cafeteria.
5. Learn how to handle money better.
The rule of thumb in business is that the owners are usually the last to get paid. You don’t want to go spend all of your money as you earn it. You will want to save at least some of it to help your business. Make sure you pay for your business first before you buy that new iphone or crispy pair of J’s. You want to make sure you can do it all again next week.
Product vs. Service
Do you prefer a product or a service? That is one decision you will have to make when you write your business plan. According to JuniorBiz, a product is an item you make once and sell many. You can sell locally or worldwide. The downside to a product is you may take quite a bit of time and money to produce and you will have competition. On the other hand, a service is done right away, but you have to convince people you have a great service to offer.
JuniorBiz breaks down products and services by cost and by how easy it is to start a particular product or service. For example, arts and crafts are harder to get started and don’t make as much money than selling cookies or lemonade. On the other hand, most of the services mentioned are fairly easy to start, like baby-sitting, pet sitting, tutoring, and lawn mowing all make good money.
Three other websites offer some different examples of businesses teens could start. For example, Entrepreneur offers suggestions such as making jewelry, running errands, selling items on eBay, and repairing bicycles.
Another website full of ideas for teens businesses is My Top Business Ideas. These top twenty businesses offer little or no start up costs and include social media management, kids’ taxi service, freelance writing, virtual assistance, and video creation.
Mike Michalowicz gives a unique perspective that teens can run a business. He offers thirty-seven different choices, including computer repair service, device set up, greeting cards, gift baskets, upcycling, online personality, and photography.
Studentrepreneur: Case Study – Mo’s Bows
Mo Bridges, a twelve-year-old owner of Mo’s Bows, started making bow ties at nine years old. Mo has made progress since he started making bow times at age nine with the help and support of his family. His grandmother taught him how to make bow ties, and his mother helps him run his business.
Mo’s mother lets him set his own business hours and makes him put his schooling ahead of his business. He sells his bow ties in twelve stores across the South as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Mo has a charity he supports called Go Mo. Proceeds from one of his bow ties helps other children go to summer camp. His mother is proud that Mo can see this is more than a business.
So remember, love what you do, find work that you are passionate about and get paid to have fun.
Some media may contain mature content. Discretion is advised when viewing with students.
Learning objective: This lesson will teach students how to launch their own business. They will build a business plan using questions they will answer in a step-by-step process. They will look at other teens who have successfully started their own businesses.