One of the best things about being a young entrepreneur is that you get to take something you love and make a business out of it! For those of you who love animals, starting a business can be as fun as it is rewarding and profitable.
As with their children, many adults are willing to pay decent money to have someone take care of and pamper their pets. Why can’t that person making the money be you?
Pet-based businesses are also a great way to combine your love of animals with social entrepreneurship. Donate a portion of your profits to a local pet shelter or other animal organization to let customers know you’re a serious animal lover.
For teens, starting a pet-based business might be the ideal enterprise. Most of the ideas listed below have little to no startup costs. They can be done according to whatever schedule suits your needs. And almost all of them let you get up close and cuddly with your favorite critters!
This is probably the easiest way to make money working with animals. People go on vacation, and they can’t always take their pets. Adults who work long hours need someone to walk the dog or clean the cat’s litter box.
You’ll need referrals and experience before strangers hire you. Remember, people LOVE their pets and don’t want to place them in the care of just anyone. Start out by pet sitting for neighbors or family. Take on easy jobs to start with, like walking an elderly neighbor’s dog. Accumulate experience and goodwill over time. And do it for free.
Once you’ve established that this is something you enjoy doing and can do well, it’s time to set up your business. Create a website that features actual quotes from satisfied customers. List the exact services you offer; if you’re allergic to cats, don’t offer to check in on a house with 12 cats inside. List your prices so there’s no confusion.
Bonus: for people going away on vacation, offer to water plants and take in the mail, too. Make it part of a package deal that costs just a little bit more than a regular dog walk or cat check-in.
2-PET TREATS AND TOYS
You know how your dog loses her mind every time you give her peanut butter? You can start a business from that!
There are so many ideas and recipes out there to satisfy even the most discriminating animal. Your biggest challenge, then, will be delivery. Will you stay local and hand-deliver your product? Or will you go national and ship your products across America? (Be mindful of perishable treats.) Make sure to invest in professional-looking packaging. No one wants to receive their cat treats in an old grocery bag.
Take your pet treat and toy business to the next level by offering a weekly or monthly subscription service. Feature discounts and incentives to attract subscription customers.
For those of you going the social entrepreneurship route, consider donating one treat or toy to an animal shelter for each one (or five) you sell.
Creative types will love this one! Take that eye for design, style, and composition and turn it into a lucrative career. Drawing, sketching, or photographing people’s pets is a fantastic way to combine two things you love.
Photography can be done almost anywhere. If your parents allow it and you have space, you can even set up a studio at home. While you can always use your phone’s camera, try to invest in some lights, bounces, and backgrounds to improve the quality of your photos.
Sketches, drawings, and paintings can be done from your clients’ photos of their beloved pets. Better yet, find your niche market by specializing in turning pets into comic book-style characters, pets in spaceships, or some other unique twist.
Make sure when you set up your business that you are realistic with your clients about how long each project will take. And price your services accordingly.
Do you live for New York Fashion Week? Always the trendiest kid at school? Love to knit? Start a business making clothes for pets!
One of the advantages of this business is that you can create a few reliable pieces that customers can purchase year-round, like doggie t-shirts or blinged-out cat collars. However, you can also feature specialty items for different times of the year. Halloween costumes. Reindeer antlers. Stars-and-stripes bandanas.
Go sports team-themed. Or create pet outfits based on fandoms.
If you live in a climate that’s warm year-round, remember that pets up north get cold! They need coats, mittens, and even hats when they go outside.
And if you’re thinking that this business idea doesn’t let you spend as much time with animals as you’d like, remember that you’ll need creatures to model your designs. Maybe team up with a friend who is building a pet photography business!
5-PET EVENT PLANNER
We all know someone who takes their love for their pets very seriously. VERY seriously. Help those people out by offering your services as an event planner for pets.
Just like an event planner for humans, this means helping people ideate, design, and run parties. Everything from adoption day celebrations, kitty birthday parties, and obedience school graduations, to a solemn memorial service for pets who have passed on.
While these events won’t be as big as, say, your mom’s best friend’s daughter’s 500-person wedding, they are no less important to the human hosts. They, too, want decorations and food, as well as someone to organize and clean up. For pet memorials in particular, your clients will be grateful for your professionalism and compassion.
This is a business best run with a team. Just a hint, but…maybe some of the pet treat creators and photographers mentioned above will want to partner up?
As we’ve said before, people LOVE their pets. These business ideas might be just the thing that gets you from everyday animal lover to sought-after young entrepreneur.
Find out more about the Kantner Foundation’s commitment to young entrepreneurs, including our college scholarships for high school students, by clicking here.