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16 business ideas for teens

Published on: 15 June 2018

When starting a business, everyone wonders whether their companies will succeed. Why not get started while you’re young and have little to nothing to lose?

In the spirit of Youth Day on 16 June, we’ve put together 16 business ideas that teens can use to start off their entrepreneurial journeys.

  1. Academic tutor:  If you do well in certain subjects (like maths or languages, for example), why not offer assistance to other students that need help in that area by assisting them as a tutor? 
  2. Virtual assistant:  There are several business owners and organisations that need the help of virtual assistants to help handle some of their administrative responsibilities. Teens can respond to generic email queries, help with online marketing, do product listings and even help with webpage editing and updating.
  3. Child care: Jobs that don’t conflict with your school schedule, such as babysitting, are one of the easiest means of earning extra money (especially during school holidays). Working parents would be more than willing to make use of such services.
  4. Design services: Creative teens can create their own printable or online graphics (like birthday invitations, greeting cards or online wall papers) and sell them to customers as downloadable files online. 
  5. Technical support:  If you’re competent with computers or technology, look at offering technical support to your community. Someone may have been struggling all day with their tech issue, only for you to be able to solve it in 5 minutes! 
  6. Create a website: Free software and some great online tutorials can help teens create simple websites for businesses.
  7. Party entertainer:  Teens with outgoing personalities wanting to start a business may want to consider working as an entertainer at special events. Who doesn’t love a juggler, balloon artist or magician?
  8. Voice artist / acting.  Becoming a voiceover artist or actor is one of the means a teenager can generate their own income.  Make sure to sign up with a reputable agent to give you the vital representation needed to secure voiceover or acting jobs. Talent can also be polished with the help of a voice / acting coach. 
  9. Musician:  Teens who are musically inclined can start earning an income by joining a band or performing as an individual musician at weddings or events.
  10. Online game reviews:  No one will understand better what entertains the gaming community more than an avid gamer. Keen teenage gamers could record a video of themselves playing, reviewing or unboxing a game and build up a loyal following.
  11. Cooking or baking:  Make sure your goods taste, well, good and are well packaged - and you won’t struggle to sell your wares to hungry friends in the neighbourhood and grownups alike.
  12. Social Media assistant:  If you have a good understanding of various social media platforms, why not start making money by managing social media accounts for business owners?  Start by focussing on one platform, such as helping a business promote their Instagram account, and then progress to managing conversations on multiple networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.
  13. Photography:  Budding photographers would need a good camera, laptop, editing software and a good understanding of the skill set needed – like mastering light and post production skills. Identify the type of photography you specialise in – is it taking family portraits or capturing the feeling of a special event?
  14. Animal care:  Teens can easily take responsibility and get paid for helping to refresh water, filling dog bowls (and taking them for walks) or feeding fish when neighbours are away.
  15. Jewellery making:  The making of and selling crafts and jewellery online can be a lucrative business. If your wares are attractive, unique and trendy, you'll find consumers are eager to buy the pieces – even at a premium price.
  16. Investments and passive income: If you’re lucky enough, while you were growing up, you may have received cash for birthdays or other special occasions. Ask your parents for advice on how best to manage these cash injections in order to learn the value of passive income.

Although you may not need to think of ‘grownup matters’ like business insurance just yet, starting a business from a young age can give you an advantage later in life. With a bit of help and guidance from involved parents, you’ll learn sound financial habits, communication skills – and gain confidence!