According to our latest Youth Economy Report, over 70% of young people in the UK said that earning their own money is important. A generation ago, teen jobs followed a familiar pattern: paper rounds, shop work, and babysitting, yet, today, young people have more of an entrepreneurial streak, with more than a quarter aspiring to start their own business and 4% of young people already making money from their business ideas. The good news is becoming a teen entrepreneur provides an excellent opportunity to try something new and learn key financial and business lessons. If your child is keen to start, here are some of the best business ideas for teens.
Why start a small business as a teen?
There are so many good reasons to start a small business as a teen, primarily because it teaches teens good lessons about business, entrepreneurship and, more importantly, financial management, earnings, savings, budgeting and costs. Our research shows that 75% of young people think having good money management skills will help in their future careers, and there's no better way to perfect these skills than running your own business.
The benefits of our small business ideas for teens
- They can work alongside studying
- They can run their business from home/university
- They will have low business overheads to little to no initial investment
- They are likely to have a client base that's known to them
- Flexible working hours around their academic work
- They have their own networks to build their business
- They have an understanding of marketing thanks to social media
- They will have the freedom to develop their own business and career
Tips for starting a small business
- Encourage your teen to do their research. They can have the best idea in the world, but if five other people are already selling the same service or product, the demand for their business will be low. Remind them to check out competitors, and find the gap in the market that they can fill.
- Make sure they understand their users. Ask them to talk to people who will buy their product or use their service. If it’s dog walking - how much are users willing to pay? If it's baking - what could they sell that no one else is offering?
- Sort out their finances. Behind every great small business is a solid financial plan. The GoHenry prepaid debit card and the app allows them to deposit earnings into savings pots and also helps them track their incoming and outgoing payments so they can manage their money.
- Learn from mistakes. Everyone in business makes mistakes. If they get a bad review, ensure they don't ignore it. Suggest they use it to improve their offering. If they've priced themselves too low or too high, change the pricing or the product/service to reflect better what they offer.
- Ensure they are willing to put in the work. It may look easy to sell cakes/wash cars/sell clothes online, but for any business to be successful, they have to put in the hours.
30 small business ideas for teens
So why do teens give up their free time to run a business? 53% say following their passion is the most significant factor that appeals to them. A third of teens do it to earn good money, and 29% want to turn their hobby into a business. If they are stuck on where to start, here are some ideas to mull over.
Tech business ideas
- YouTube Vlogger. If your teen wants to start making money from YouTube videos, they will need 1,000 subscribers and people to have watched 4,000 hours of their content in the last 12 months to start earning. This means they have to put in the hours and create the videos way before they start earning.
- Computer set-up service. Being a digital native means teens are tech-savvy in ways many of the older generations aren't. Offering a service for smartphone set-ups to laptops, printers and device help can make a lot of extra cash.
- Create an online game. To make money from a game your teen has created, they can charge people a fee to play on Roblox (between 25 and 1,000 Robux). Once they earn 100,000 Robux, they can convert it to cash (£300).
- Podcaster. A good podcaster can make an average of £954 monthly profits. However, they'll need various editing programs and equipment to create a successful podcast to record and build up their following.
- Social media influencer. Our latest Youth Economy Report shows that teens are already making money from being social media influencers. Bear in mind that this takes a lot of work. People with followers over 40,000 on a social network are macro-influencers making big money. Most influencers are micro or niche influencers with between 1,000 and 40,000 followers.
- Videographer. Are your teens great at taking video shorts on the phone? If so, they can sell your skills to people who need content for Reels and TikTok.
- Web designer. If your teen is adept at WordPress and/or Wix, then why not get them to start a business where they set up a blog or website for local businesses?
- Blogging. If they love writing, why not suggest they start a niche blog? They can make money from advertising, writing sponsored content, and sharing affiliate links.
- Live stream gamer. Live stream gaming on platforms like Twitch means broadcasting via the internet while they play. They will need the right equipment and software and have to promote your channel to get an audience all while they play games.
Business ideas in care
- Pet sitting. Thanks to lockdowns, almost everyone has a pet these days – and many have separation anxiety. That's where pet sitting comes in for evenings and weekends. Offer services to friends, neighbours and people you know with dogs.
- Pet grooming services. While full-on grooming is a professional job, people still want someone to wash and brush their dogs, clean cages and even change the litter tray. If your teen is keen, this is an excellent way to make cash.
- Dog walking. If your teen has experience with dogs and feels confident looking after someone else's pet, they could consider a dog walking service.
- Babysitting. A classic job for teens, but see if they can spot a niche in the market for holidays and half-term or even mix tutoring with babysitting.
- Shopping for an older person. Lots of families are always looking for a helper for an older person. It's usually a befriending service with shopping and company thrown in.
Creative business ideas
- Sell art. Get your teen to check out Etsy to see that selling art can mean anything from t-shirt designs, greeting cards, one-off digital prints, and exclusive framed designs.
- Sell handmade goods business. This could be jewellery, scarves, hats, knitted goods, hair accessories, cushions, candles and even soap.
- Caricature or portrait artist. You'd be surprised how this market can make your teen extra cash if they are good at art. From gift cards to images of pets on Christmas baubles, you can make some good cash offering this service.
- Selling clothes online. Selling clothes online can be a great way to clear up a cluttered wardrobe, resell last season's fashion and make some cash. Suggest your teen expands to include items from friends and family that they can't face selling.
- Baking/Special events. There may be a lot of cake makers but see if your teen can offer a niche proposal. Food for birthday parties, cake pops, special cupcakes to order?
Outdoor business ideas
- Car washing. If your teen ups their car washing game by offering a full inside and out service with a car wax, they can make as much as £30 per car.
- Landscaping/Offer lawn care services. Garden tidy ups are in big demand these days from weeding to lawn care and mowing, not to mention planting and cleaning of driveways.
- Snow and leaf removal. We may not get much snow but teens can make their mark in autumn offering leaf removal in gardens and on drives and back it up with the extra offer of clearing paths should we get snow.
Entertainment business ideas
- DJ. If your teen can master a party mix they could probably be a DJ just choose your niche and promote yourself on social media and in Facebook groups.
- Party entertainer /organiser. With so many people being time starved any service that offers organisational help will be snapped up. Organising a kids party from invites to entertainers, and food will always be a big winner.
- Gift wrapping services. Christmas gifts, birthdays, weddings - offering a premier gift wrapping service can make your teen more than they think.
Community business ideas
- Pet photographer/ event photographer. If your teen is doing photography GCSE or is adept at taking pictures they could offer photography services.
- Tutoring. If your child excels at maths, English, a musical instrument or even a language, they can consider tutoring younger kids.
- Beverage stand. Old fashioned but works a treat if a location is chosen wisely (see quote from Ella, 15 below).
- Window washing. Another business well worth trying as you no longer need a ladder if your teen invests in a Telescopic Window Cleaning Pole.
- Virtual assistant. If your teen is computer proficient, being a VA may be right for them. They need to be familiar with managing email inboxes and using cloud-based communication, such as file sharing, password managers and teleconferencing.
Success stories from teens with business ideas
“You know as a kid, someone always says ‘we should do a lemonade stand.’ It always used to be for the fun of it, but I’m someone who likes to plan ahead and I started thinking about college and cars. I thought if I could make a profit off of this, like serious profit and hire my family, it could be a great financial opportunity. That’s how I looked at it, and last summer I made £440.”
ELLA, AGE 15
“I started getting interested in crypto in spring 2020, when I heard about it on Tiktok and Instagram. I felt that it was accessible to me as a teenager, so I did lots of research to find out how it works, before investing £250 into various coins such as BTC, ETH and XRP. Since then I’ve been accumulating and trading crypto, and making money with the ups and downs of the market..”
WOODY, AGE 16
How to get paid as a small business owner?
Whatever your child decides to do as a business, make sure they have their finances sorted out so they can keep track of incomings and outgoings and save the profit. While many people tend to pay in cash, they can get paid via a transfer to a GoHenry prepaid debit card. Money Missions on the GoHenry app can also teach them some key lessons around financial management. If you want to keep an eye on what's happening, you can also view incomings and outgoings via the GoHenry app.