Is your child an entrepreneur in the making? If so, they are not alone. Our latest Youth Economy Report shows GoHenry kids earned a total of £148 million in 2021, with average weekly earnings now standing at £8.20 per child. This represents a 9% increase in earnings per child since 2020, which is more than double the average weekly wage growth for UK adults (4%) in the same period.
“Working for pay helps kids to understand both the value of earning and the value of money by helping them to appreciate the connection between their labour and the financial gain.”
Beth Zemble, VP of Education, GoHenry
Figures from gov.uk show that 450,000 16-24 year-olds are running small businesses in the UK, and it’s becoming increasingly common for kids to come up with their own money-making enterprises rather than getting a conventional Saturday job.
Generational expert Eliza Filby agrees, “Generation Z are sellers as much as buyers. They’re selling goods on Depop, organising events, selling artwork and selling their skills. They’re starting young, which means that Gen-Z won’t necessarily be relying on their parents to give them pocket money like previous generations.”
Related: How to make money as a kid
Tips for parents helping their kids start their own business
To help raise a young entrepreneur, there’s no better way for them to learn than by doing. Not only is it empowering for kids to earn their own money with their own business ideas, but helping them start their own money-making venture is one of the best ways for kids to save money.
For aspiring young entrepreneurs, here are five tips from Max Hayden, a 16-year-old entrepreneur who has built a multimillion-dollar Amazon business selling used books.
Commit to research. Take time to learn about the demand for the product you want to sell. Hayden joined online groups for resellers to learn more about the industry and keep tabs on in-demand products. If there's not a demand for what you're selling, “be ready to pivot," he says.
Create a plan. Don't just start a business blindly. Take time to put together a plan for what you're going to do and how you're going to do it. If you want to start a lawn-mowing business, for instance, figure out what equipment you need, how you'll advertise and what kind of standards you'll commit to meeting.
Keep track of your finances. It's easy to lose sight of all the money going in and out of your business, Hayden says, “so keep clear and organised books." Look for ways to turn your money into more money without taking unnecessary risks.
Don't get discouraged because of your age. “People may say business is not for kids and you may be younger than most people, but it doesn't mean you won't be able to do it," Hayden says. He's living proof that a kid can build a successful business.
Some of our favourite small business ideas for kids
Lemonade and snack stand
Social media posting
Creative small business ideas for kids
Face painting - If your kid is arty, they could offer face painting services at parties (under supervision) and school fetes. Ensure they invest in a good face-painting kit and have the right equipment and practice to ensure they are offering a good service.
Skills learnt: marketing, pricing, customer service
Jewellery making - Look at current trends and tastes on Pinterest and TikTok (for ages 13+) to ensure they are creating something worth buying. Your child can then easily buy a jewellery-making kit for under £20 on Amazon and then sell bracelets, rings and necklaces.
Skills learnt: marketing, selling on marketplaces, pricing and customer service
Greetings cards - Everyone wants to send cards that are unique. Creative kids can draw pictures on greeting cards or create digital collages on Canva to make greeting cards to sell.
Skills learnt; marketing, selling on marketplaces, pricing and customer service
Gift Wrapping - This is especially popular around Christmas - a lot of busy people will quite happily pay a small fee to have their gifts wrapped for them, especially with extras like ribbons and stickers. Offer the service to local gift shops and local Christmas fairs.
Skills learnt: marketing and pricing and customer service
Photography - Is your kid great at taking photos on their phone? If so, they could sell stock photos online or offer photography services for family, pet, or product pictures.
Skills learnt: market research and marketing
Tech small business ideas for kids
Online seller - According to our Youth Economy Report 2022, 25% of kids earn money from selling items on online marketplaces. From unused and secondhand clothes to craft pieces. Get your child to investigate the best one for their needs and then market their wares.
Skills learnt: competitive pricing, customer service, social media marketing
Social media posting - A lot of business owners don't know how to make the most of social media. If your kid is aged 13+ and a whizz with Instagram and TikTok, they could become a content creator and make social media posts for companies.
Skills learnt: Self-promotion, pricing and short-form video
Website, app, and game testing - When anyone makes a website or any other techy application, it needs to be tested by the kind of person who will be using it. If your kid is good at tech, they could test websites, apps, and games to check that they work properly and are easy to use. Try sites like SwagBucks.com.
Skills learnt: Working to a deadline and competing for work
Tech tutorage - Let's be honest; some teens are better at using tech than a lot of adults. Your kids could offer tech tutoring to help people learn how to use their emails, create documents, and improve their skills.
Skills learnt: Marketing, customer service, PR
YouTuber - YouTube has become popular for people to watch new content creators. If your kid finds a niche and builds an audience, they could earn a steady income. Consider playing games, video reviews, demos, or unboxing. Children aged 13-17 can have their own account/channel but only with your parental permission.
Skills learnt: perseverance, marketing and building a user base
Related: How to sell on Etsy as a kid
Indoor small business ideas for kids
Cleaning - If your kid is handy with a duster, they could offer their cleaning services to neighbours. Older teens can also offer this service to holiday cottages or cafes nearby.
Skills learnt: Customer service and pricing
Proofreading - A lot of writers, magazines, and websites need their text proofread, which your child can do from their computer without having to leave their room.
Skills learnt: Self-promotion, attention to detail and pricing
Party decorations - Setting up decorations takes time, so lots of people will pay to have someone come and blow up balloons and hang banners for them.
Skills learnt: Marketing, creativity and pricing
Pet sitter - Pet sitting services are in high demand, especially at weekends and evenings. Looking after pets is fun and can teach kids about responsibility and social skills. However, you must consider your child's age and if they’re ready for such a responsible job.
Skills learnt: Marketing, responsibility and pricing
Babysitting is a classic job that can easily be turned into an up-to-date business idea by offering playdate/homework services for kids post-school.
Skills learnt: Market research, responsibility and pricing
Outdoors small business ideas for kids
Weeding/gardening - most people need help keeping their gardens free of weeds, and few gardeners offer that service so this is often a good gap in the market.
Skills learnt: Customer service and marketing
Mowing grass is a great task to offer, and though it’s better suited for older children, it can be lucrative in summer. Create leaflets to offer your services and do a postal drop.
Skills learnt: Self-promotion and pricing
Car wash - This is a great way to make some money. Encourage your child to invest in the right equipment, like a jet wash and some car wax, and price themselves competitively.
Skills learnt: Market research (what customers want) and competitive pricing
Watering plants - As any garden lover will tell you, finding someone to water your plants when you are away is hard. Offer this service to neighbours and friends, and you’ll be surprised at how much your child will earn.
Skills learnt: Responsibility and pricing
Community small business ideas for kids
Lemonade and snack stand - This is an age-old idea because it works. Selling snacks and drinks in the community can be a good earner though if you’re going to sell in a park or on a street, find out if your local council allows it.
Skills learnt: Hygiene and food skills and pricing
Baking - If your kid loves cooking, then selling cakes, cupcakes, and cookies can be another way to earn money. They can even take orders for parties or birthday cakes.
Skills learnt: Hygiene and food skills, market research and social media marketing
Running errands and messages - If someone needs an item delivered to another house or if they forgot to buy milk at the shop, your child could help do these errands for a small fee.
Skills learnt: Self-promotion, PR, market research and marketing
Start a community garden (in your garden or at an allotment. This is a great way to make some fresh food available to your community. You can sell the produce at a local farmers' market and donate it to a local food bank.
Skills learnt: PR, marketing, selling and giving back
Educational small business ideas for kids
Tutoring - If your kid is good at a particular subject, they could start tutoring younger children who are struggling or just need some confidence in a certain area. They can offer their services online and work via a tutor platform.
Skills learnt: PR, marketing and customer service.
Music, sports or art coaching - Don't just limit your kid to school subjects. If they can play an instrument, excel at art or even play a sport really well, they can help coach other kids.
Skills learnt: Customer service and marketing
Legal considerations when starting a kid’s small business
There are a few legal considerations to keep in mind when starting a kid's small business in the UK.
Age: In the UK, anyone under the age of 18 cannot enter into a contract. This means that a child cannot legally enter into a contract to sell goods or services. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, a child can sell goods or services if they are part of a family business or if they have the permission of their parent or guardian.
Liability: If a child's business is found to be negligent, the child's parents or guardians may be held liable for any damages. This is because children are not considered to be able to understand the risks involved in running a business.
Skills kids will learn when starting a business
Market research - looking at what’s on offer to see if there is a market gap for what they offer.
Marketing - the process of attracting potential customers and clients to a product or service.
PR - promoting how people see and find out about your business.
Pricing - working out what your goods or services are worth.
Problem-solving: When starting a business, kids will need to be able to identify and solve problems. This can include problems with their product or service, with their marketing, or with their finances.
Customer service. Keeping customers happy so they come back for more and or tell others about you.
Communication: Kids will need to be able to communicate effectively when starting a business. This can include communicating with potential customers, suppliers, and investors.
Resilience: Starting a business is not easy. Kids will need to be able to deal with setbacks and failures. This can help them to learn from their mistakes and become more resilient.
Success stories from kids with business ideas
Unsure how your child will do when trying to start their own business for kids? Check out these success stories from our Youth Economy Report:
“Last year I came up with the idea to sell cupcakes, and my mum helped me get some business cards printed. We asked if they could be displayed in the village shop, and orders soon started coming in. During the summer holidays I started making 24 cupcakes per week to sell in the shop, which meant I was earning about £75 per week – enough to buy a new bike!" Matilda, Age 12
“I started my jewellery business during the lockdown as I wanted to keep busy. At first, I made necklaces and bracelets for my family, then I started selling them to friends for £3 each. All the money I make goes into my GoHenry account as I’m saving to buy an iPad Mini. Next, I’d like to start making earrings, and I’m hoping to start selling my jewellery through my Instagram page as I have over 8,000 followers." Saira, Age 9
How can kids save and spend the money they earn?
GoHenry's mission is to make every kid smart with money thanks to a range of great features that help kids safely and securely learn about money, from saving to smart spending. In-app Money Missions makes learning about money fun and engaging with videos and quizzes covering everything from the value of money to budgeting. Parents can support their kids through the GoHenry app by setting flexible parental controls and receiving real-time spending alerts whenever they use their GoHenry prepaid kids debit card.