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Small business ideas for teens: A teenage girl talks on the phone while writing an address on a shipping box
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23 small business ideas for teen entrepreneurs

Highlights:

-Teen entrepreneurs have dozens of potential options for starting a business.

-The three main categories are service-based businesses, product-based businesses, and content creation businesses.

-As a teen entrepreneur, look for an opportunity that fits your passions, skills, and availability. 

As a teen, you have plenty of reasons to want some extra cash — but getting a traditional job isn’t always possible. For one, many businesses require you to be at least 16. Plus, you have to find a gig that works around your school schedule. 

What about being your own boss, though? If being a small business owner sounds up your alley, this guide is for you. We’ll go over some small business ideas for teens, cover the basics of how to get started, and much more. 

How to start a business as a teen

The general process of starting a business involves four basic stages:

  1. Coming up with a business idea

  2. Creating a business plan and researching competitors

  3. Completing the initial setup and launch, obtaining a business license, etc.

  4. Running the business 

The Small Business Administration has a much more detailed guide on how to start a business. For now, we’ll focus on the bits that are most relevant to young entrepreneurs. 

If you’re under 18, you’ll likely need assistance with the legal side of things from your parents or guardians. Minors cannot legally form a business entity, open a business bank account, or apply for a business loan — so parental assistance will be required. 

You’ll also want to consider several factors when figuring out what kind of business to start, including:

  • What are your interests, and how can you include your passions in a business opportunity?

  • What are some of your skills that might make a certain type of business a good fit?

  • How many hours will it take, and can you work around your school schedule? 

  • What is the upfront investment required, and can you afford it? 

What businesses can you start as a teenager? 

Teens have started all types of successful business ventures. For instance, sisters Caroline and Isabel started Da Bomb Bath Fizzers when they were just 11 and 10 years old!

There are hundreds of different options when it comes to starting a business, but these are some of the most common (and most compatible) options for teens. 

In general, the best options can fall into three distinct categories:

  • Service-based businesses

  • Product-based businesses

  • Content creation businesses

We’ll explore each of these categories — and provide some small business ideas for teens — in the sections below. 

11 service-based small business ideas for teens

Teenage boy washes the wheels of a car with a bucket and sponge

Businesses where you provide a service are often a good way for teens to make extra money, as they typically have low start-up costs. They also tend to be more flexible in hours.

You can create a business out of virtually any service — you just need paying clients! 

The type of service you want to provide will depend on your interests, skills, and the demand for such services in your area. Here’s an overview of some popular service-based small business ideas for teens that might be a good fit for you. 

1. Dog walking

Dog walking can be a simple business that also requires very little equipment. You can walk dogs in your neighborhood and advertise your services on social media platforms and NextDoor. You can also offer complementary services like pet sitting to pet owners.

2. Lawn care

A lawn care business can include mowing, weeding, landscaping, gardening, and other outdoor home maintenance tasks. Depending on the situation, you may need to provide your own equipment — but many homeowners have their own lawnmowers and other equipment that you can use. 

3. House cleaning

House cleaning and tidying can be a lucrative small business, and it requires minimal equipment. Plus, it’s usually flexible in timing, and you can potentially lock in clients for regularly scheduled cleanings. 

4. Seasonal services

Seasonal services vary depending on the time of the year and the weather. In the winter months, tasks like hanging holiday lights, gift wrapping, and shoveling snow can be offered. For a summer business idea, consider housesitting for vacationers or providing pool maintenance. 

5. Child care

Child care is a classic teen business, and for good reason: Demand is high. If you’re a patient person who is good with kids, babysitting can easily keep you busy on nights and weekends — and earn you a tidy profit.

6. Tutoring and teaching

Tutoring children and fellow teens in subjects you are skilled at can be a profitable business. And it doesn’t have to be just school subjects. You could also teach music lessons, sports, or even coding. 

7. Car washing and detailing

Vehicle upkeep and maintenance can be costly. Why not get a piece of that action? Washing cars don’t require much equipment. Detailing requires more skill and specialized equipment, but you can usually charge significantly more. 

8. Photography and videography

Providing photography and videography services can be a profitable way to pursue your passion. From shooting senior photos to capturing events, there are plenty of opportunities for skilled photographers and videographers. 

9. Freelance writing

If you enjoy writing, freelancing might be a viable option. Many websites hire writers to help them craft articles, blog posts, and web copy. You can advertise your services or find work on sites like Fiverr (which has a minimum age of just 13).

10. Freelance designing

If you have an eye for design and some graphic or web designing skills, you can start a freelance graphic design business. You will need access to design software. Basic software may be available for free. Eventually, you may want to pay for higher-end software, but with the right skill set, the software can pay for itself quickly. 

11. Other freelance services

Freelancers provide services on a contract basis — meaning you run your own business and are not employees. Beyond writing and designing, there are dozens of freelance opportunities, including translation, coding, data entry, web development, and more. Tech-savvy teens could even offer things like tech support to individuals or local businesses. 

7 product-based business ideas for teens

A closeup of a teen cutting fabric according to clothing patterns

Businesses where you produce or resell products may have higher startup costs, but product-based businesses are also scalable, meaning that they can expand with demand. 

There are many potential advantages to product-based businesses. They may be easier to fit around your schedule, for instance, as you can create products in batches and sell them online or at weekend markets. You can easily adjust prices to suit demand and your desired profit margins. And if things go well, you can start automating certain parts of the process to free up more of your personal time. 

Here are some small business ideas for teens that involve creating your own products. Feel free to get creative! 

1. Making candles

Candles can be a profitable business, with many potential outlets to sell (e.g., craft fairs, online, door-to-door, etc.) Just look at Kierra, who started a successful candle business at just 15!

2. Crafting bath bombs

Bath bombs and other fun self-care products are another good option. The cost of raw materials is low, meaning you can make a solid profit on each item you sell. 

3. Making crafts

Craft-based businesses can turn a passion into profit. You can sell crafts at local events, online, or on platforms like Etsy. Keep in mind that Etsy requires you to be 18 to open an account, but minors are permitted to use their parent’s accounts with permission. 

4. Designing greeting cards

Greeting cards are another low-cost, high-margin item that you can craft and sell. You can create digital designs to print or hand-craft creative cards yourself. 

5. Producing value-added food products

“Value-added” food products include items like jam, pickles, and sauces. Some states allow you to make these products at home (yay!), while others require you to rent commercial kitchen space. For teens with a culinary interest, this can be a good way to pursue your passions and learn about business. 

6. Making clothing or accessories

Making clothing is a bit more tricky and may require you to outsource certain tasks. But for young fashionistas, this can be a fun and rewarding small business. 

7. Reselling items

Young people can also start a lucrative business buying and reselling existing products. This could look like buying used items to sell on eBay or buying curated handmade goods to resell on your own e-commerce website. 

5 content creation business ideas for teens

A smiling teenage girl sits at a table and uses a laptop

Businesses where you create content (e.g., YouTube, podcasts, social media, etc.) have very low startup costs and allow you to pursue your passions. 

The downside is that it tends to take a long time to start seeing a profit with these types of businesses. You may have to put in effort for many months — even years — before you start making a significant amount of money.

If this is the type of business you want to start, check in with your parents first! Then, get started with some of these ideas. 

1. Social media

Creating social media content can take on many shapes. You can become a social media influencer, which can eventually lead to sponsorships or paid ads. Or, you could create content for other companies and sell your services at a flat rate. 

2. Blogging

Blogging about something you’re passionate about can help sharpen your writing skills and start an online business that can grow over the years. Bloggers can make money from ad revenue, affiliate marketing, and sponsorships. 

3. Podcasting

Starting a podcast can be fun! Startup costs can be relatively low, but you’ll need something interesting to talk about — and interesting people to talk to. Podcasters can generate revenue from sponsorships and advertising. 

4. YouTube

Starting a YouTube channel can turn a passion into profit. YouTube’s minimum age is 13, and YouTube creators can eventually earn profits through advertising revenue and sponsorships. 

5. Live streaming

Live streaming video games or other content on websites like Twitch can be a fun way to turn your hobbies into a business. Twitch requires streamers to be at least 13 years old. 

With a small business, the sky’s the limit! 

You should look for a small business idea that aligns with your interests, offers low start-up costs, and has the flexibility to work with your schedule. 

This list of small business ideas for teens is a great place to start, but don’t hesitate to get creative! With the right mindset and a little luck, you can turn just about anything into a profitable business.

Greenlight can help you develop personal money management skills, whether your income is coming from an allowance or a small business. You can learn how to budget, set savings goals to raise startup costs, and use a debit card to pay for supplies and business expenses. Plus, you can further expand your business or reach long-term goals with investing. Try one month, on us!

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