You’re too old for lemonade stands, but not old enough for a “real” job. As a young entrepreneur, you know that you need money to make money. You have big dreams of starting, launching, and successfully running your own business. But where do you get the money to get started?
Here are 11 ideas to get the startup cash you need fairly quickly (though not overnight). Some of them might seem obvious. Not all of them will be right for you. It may be, though, that one of these business ideas will become your first enterprise! Choose something that resonates with your natural skills and comfort levels. There’s no point in doing something you hate just to make a quick buck. All of these suggestions should be easy to set up and get going as soon as you’re ready.
1. WRITE A BLOG
Have a lot of thoughts and ideas? Consider yourself something of an expert on a certain topic? Love writing? Start a blog! As long as you’re not making threats or being offensive, you can make money off your blog. Use your social media connections to advertise yourself and get more followers. The more followers you have, the more chances you have of monetizing your blog. Consider:
- Movie reviews (if you become popular enough, you might get free movie tickets!)
- Gaming reviews
- Gaming how-tos
- Social issues
- Lifestyle advice for other teens
- Interviewing other young entrepreneurs
- Sharing your road-to-college journey
2. CAMP COUNSELOR
If you’ve aged out of camp but miss the fun you had there every summer, why not return as a counselor? Teens as young as 13 or 14 may have to start as an unpaid C.I.T. (counselor-in-training), but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be a paid junior counselor by next summer or the summer after that.
One of the best things about being a camp counselor is that you can choose a camp based on your interests and strengths. Love art? Work at an art camp! Live for gaming? There are gaming camps! Start with the American Camp Association and find a place that fits your unique style and interests.
3. TAKE ONLINE SURVEYS
Companies, advertisers, and marketers love data. They love to collect it, analyze it, and adjust their campaigns for the exact right audience. You can help – and earn some gift cards – by taking online surveys. All you need is access to the internet and an opinion. Here are three to get you started:
Many of our most successful scholarship recipients have been AP students. If you’re a college-bound young entrepreneur, then chances are you take at least one AP class, too. Why not monetize all that time and energy you’ve spent on a single subject? There are always elementary or middle school students who need help in a subject or two. And fancy tutoring companies cost more than parents can afford. That’s where you come in. Offering a reasonable rate to tutor a child in a subject you excel at is a great way to make cash!
5. PET CARE
Love the idea of helping others, but not really into wrangling kids? Love animals? Pet sitting might be for you! From walking dogs to feeding fish, everyone needs help taking care of their animals when they’re at work or on vacation. Why can’t you be that help?
6. CLEAN UP
Those of you who are able-bodied can make money by helping your neighbors clean up. This can be as small as offering your services to parents after a child’s birthday party or as big as cleaning out a garage. The best part of this job is that you’re genuinely helping others while making money!
7. HELP THE ELDERLY WITH TECHNOLOGY
We’ve all heard jokes about older adults and their inability to understand technology. Rather than having a cheap laugh at their expense, you can help older adults learn to use technology. Smart home systems can help the elderly stay safe. Video calling can help them feel less lonely. You can teach them how to shop from home, digitize their old photos and videos, or even set up social media accounts to stay in touch with their families!
8. WASH CARS
Grab a friend, a sponge, a bucket, and some dish soap, and you’ve got yourself a business. Invest in a cordless vacuum and charge more to include interior cleaning with your services. Don’t underestimate how much people would love for you to wash their cars right there in their driveways!
9. DO ODD JOBS FOR NEIGHBORS
Everyone in the world has those little chores around the house or errands they run that they just hate. That’s where you step in and get paid to be someone’s hero!
- Drop off/pick up drycleaning
- Take out the trash/recycling and bring the bins back in when they’re empty
- Collect mail and packages for someone on vacation
- Put together IKEA furniture
10. TEACH MUSIC
Nearly every kid goes through a phase where they want to learn some musical instrument or other. You musical entrepreneurs can offer personal lessons in your own home or the homes of your students for much less than big music schools charge. You’ll still make money, but the parents of your students will save money (and driving time)! It’s a win-win!
11. SELL FOOD OR CRAFTS AT A FARMERS’ MARKET
Whether you bake the world’s best brownies, know how to make cheese, or grow super tasty veggies in your backyard, you can make money selling your product at your local farmers’ market. Not a foodie, but know how to craft? You can sell that, too, without paying for a spot on Etsy or worrying about shipping costs! Find your local farmers’ market here or here.
Whatever your interests, time commitments, physical or mental abilities, or financial situation, there’s a way to make money quickly and easily. Starting one of these small businesses is also a fantastic way to sharpen your entrepreneurial skills: marketing, finance, and networking!
Young entrepreneurs who attend high school in Florida may be eligible for a Kantner Foundation college scholarship. Click here to learn about what we offer and how to apply.