Teenagers need money. Whether it’s for soccer uniforms, lunch, school supplies, a class trip, SAT registration fees, formal attire for a dance, or saving for college, it requires a bit of cash to maintain a teenage lifestyle.
The good news is that teenagers are in a great position to make money from their own initiatives. In most cases, someone else (parents) pay their basic living expenses. Teenagers also have more freedom to leave the house than younger children, and some teens even drive and have their own cars, or have friends with cars.
If you’re a teenager who wants more money or a resume booster, or you’re a parent who wants to get your child off the couch, we have great ideas to get you started. This is Part 1 of our entrepreneurship ideas for teenagers- Selling Products. Part 2 will tell you about Selling Services.
Cash in on Crafts
Whether you love to make jewelry, birdhouses, or model airplanes, someone’s willing to pay for your creations. You can sell your wares at craft fairs or online at sites like Etsy. You can also make custom items with people’s names on them or decorated in their school’s colors. Speaking of schools, sporting events, dances, and other school occasions are an easy way to get lots of customers, and not just from your school.
A quick tip is to make sure your crafts are high quality. They should be durable, neat, and attractive. Don’t assume people will keep giving you money just to make you feel good. Your art or craft has to be worth their money.
Remix the Bake Sale
Old school bake sales are more like farmer’s markets: you bake the cake, and hope someone buys it. But you can take orders, which saves you money in the end because you don’t have wasted merchandise.
Here’s one way to get started. Bake something for a friend or relative’s party, as a gift, no charge. Make sure it’s the best thing you’ve ever baked. When people start asking who baked that delicious pie, hand them one of your homemade business cards, and tell them you take special orders.
Sell Stuff on eBay
Take advantage of the massive audience of eBay and all of the money that people already exchange there. You can begin with your own things, and ask your family and friends if they’d like to get rid of anything. Surely you can talk your parents into turning the family garage sale into an online enterprise. Just make sure you don’t sell something other people still need.
But what happens when you run out of stuff in your own garage? That’s the fun part. You get to scavenge for treasures, formerly other people’s trash.
Here are 3 important things to remember about selling online:
- Make sure items are still in good condition.
- Take multiple shots in good lighting that really show off the item’s best features.
- Write a winning description. Don’t just say what the item is, convince someone (without lying) that the used step ladder you’re selling is the one they should buy.
- Keep costs low, and prioritize your time. If it takes hundreds of dollars just to buy the supplies, and it takes 40 hours a week to prepare the products, you’re in over your head.
- Start in the off season. If you’re stretched for time during the school year, try out your new ideas on holiday breaks or during summer break.
- Try a lot of things. While you have the safety net of your parents, you have the freedom to explore different business interests. Try one idea. If you don’t like it, try another.
- Do the work. This shouldn’t be a get rich quick trick or a pipe dream. Even a teenager’s side job requires effort. Fortunately, you can choose the business idea that most motivates you.