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31+ Business Ideas for Teens: Get Started on the Path to Entrepreneurship

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31+ Business Ideas for Teens: Get Started on the Path to Entrepreneurship

Making money as a teenager can be challenging. Most of the business ideas for teens are either unrealistic or cost-prohibitive to get started.

Here is a list of business ideas for teens curated based on their chances of success. Stick around till the end for tips on what makes a good business for teens and how you can avoid the typical pitfalls.

Successful Business Ideas For Teens To Get Started Early

It's important to note that none of these are get-rich-quick business ideas. Each one will require hard work, patience, and a specific time commitment to get started.

With that said, each idea on this list has been picked with older teens in mind. That means time commitments are flexible, startup capital is minimal, and older teens can legally do the job.

1. Niche and Authority Sites

Niche websites cover sub-segments of a market, such as golf club reviews. Authority websites attempt to establish themselves as experts on a topic.

You can monetize these websites in various ways, such as ad displays, affiliate links, creating courses, and selling products.

Average Income: $5,000 – $80,000 (top site owners can make high six and seven figures)

2. Blogging

While the heyday of personal blogs has faded, many bloggers still make good money writing about specialized topics. Check out the various types of blogs that make money.

One of the best things about blogging is the low barrier to entry, with only a computer and internet connection required to get started.

It can take months to years of consistency to get any traction, so make sure you have realistic expectations going in.

Average Income: $5,000 – $40,000 (top bloggers can earn high six and seven figures)

3. Freelance Writing

Content writers create long-form information content to help readers better understand a topic. This article is an example of content writing.

You can work for SEO agencies, blogs, niche, and authority website owners, or create your own content-fueled websites.

Check out our complete guide on how to earn extra money as a website content writer.

Average Salary: $30,000 – $75,000 (topic experts in medical, legal, or financial writing can earn more than the average)

4. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is performance-based marketing where affiliates get paid for referring traffic to a business. You will usually be paid for each sale via the cost per metric model.

Plus, you can start affiliate marketing with no money.

You can become an affiliate marketer in multiple ways, such as:

  • Blogging
  • YouTube
  • Authority/Niche Sites
  • Social Media Platform
  • Email Marketing

Average Salary: $42,000 – $83,000 (top affiliate marketers with high ticket affiliate programs can earn high six and seven figures)

5. Pet Sitting or Dog Walker

Another area of the pet industry that has experienced significant growth over the past few years is dog walking. Apps like Rover make it easier than ever to connect with clients.

If you can get clients outside of the apps, you can cut out the middleman and increase profit margins.

Average Salary: $25,000 – $50,000 (dog walkers in larger cities like Los Angeles and New York can earn more)

6. Lawn Care Business

The landscaping industry in America is estimated to be over $100 billion. It can be pretty easy for hardworking and aspiring young adults to get a piece of that enormous pie.

The key is to be consistent and stay on top of things for your clients. With a bit of persistence and hard work, you can quickly generate a high-income business.

Average Salary: $25,000 – $60,000 (company owners can earn in the mid to high-six figures in larger markets such as Los Angeles)

7. Car Washing

It may not seem like it, but mobile car washing can be an extremely lucrative side hustle. There are upfront startup costs, but this can be quickly recouped with enough persistence.

In the beginning, you will need to stay on top of things and find places to set up where you can drum up a great business. However, once you have a steady clientele, you can clear quite a bit of profit.

Average Salary: $25,000 – $70,000 (you can make even more with multiple setups and employees)

8. House Cleaning

While house cleaning isn't the most glamorous of jobs, it can be lucrative given enough persistence to acquire clients.

The money isn't in cleaning but acquiring enough clients to hire others to do the work. Remember, this can take a bit of time and a lot of hustle.

Average Salary: $50,000 – $70,000 for personal cleaners and over $100,000 for commercial properties

9. Errand-Running

Errand runners provide various services to busy people ranging from getting groceries to taking packages to the post office. This is another of the top business ideas for teens.

In major metro areas, where many businesspeople work with very little time but lots of money, errand-running services can be quite profitable.

Average Salary: $24,000 – $35,000 plus tips (you can make more as an agency owner with enough clients)

10. Music Lessons

Turn your passion for playing music into a profitable business. If you can play an instrument and have the temperament for teaching others, you could be making money from giving lessons.

For the entrepreneurial, if you can get enough clients, you may hire other instructors. This can help to clear higher revenues and create a full-time business.

Average Salary: $43,000 – $90,000 (even more if you can create a business managing instructors)

11. Candle Making

Candle making is an estimated $7 billion business in the United States and is projected to grow at a rate of 5% each year.

The equipment needed for candle making isn't cost-prohibitive. If you want to succeed, think about creating a solid brand with professional logos and labels.

Average Salary: $30,000 – $58,000 (highly successful makers can make low to mid-six figures)

12. Retail Arbitrage

Retail arbitrage is the process of buying items at a discounted price and then selling them at the standard rate or higher.

Be forewarned; retail arbitrage can be difficult due to high competition. It takes consistency to find good deals and then flip them.

However, many people online earn a solid income stream through retail arbitrage, and plenty of resources exist to help you learn the process.

Average Salary: Varies greatly based on skill and consistency

13. Graphic Designer

The great thing about many online businesses, from programming to digital marketing, is that the results count more than the credentials.

If you can provide better results than someone with a higher degree or certification, you're going to keep getting work.

Graphic design is no different, and if you have a bit of artistic talent, you can offer freelance services online. You will need to spend time learning brand psychology and design theory, but you can start taking small jobs while you learn.

Average Salary: $35,000 – $55,000

14. Web Designer

Web designers are responsible for creating the front-end interface of a website. They are focused on creating an optimal user experience while remaining compliant with brand guidelines.

As with graphic designers, the results you provide as a web designer are more important than what degrees or certifications you have.

There are tons of courses, videos, and tutorials online via sites like Udemy that can help you develop a foundation in web design. Given enough practice and persistence in finding clients, you can be making a decent income in a year or even less.

Average Salary: $35,000 – $85,000

Check Out Web Design Courses on Udemy

15. Create an App or Online Game

App development is one of the most in-demand skills in the tech industry. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources that can help you learn, from courses to videos and articles.

As with any other tech-related skill, your ability to deliver results will be the primary deciding factor in you getting work. This makes it easier to compete with others as you don't need a degree.

In the beginning, it may be challenging to find your first client, but so long as you are persistent and continually working on your craft, you will eventually start getting clients to work with.

Average Salary: $45,000 – $80,000

16. Gift Wrapping Service

Another seasonal business, gift wrapping alone, likely won't provide a full-time income but can add a profitable side income stream during the winter months.

If you want to make it a full-time business, you can sell other products and services such as party supplies, gift cards, and related items.

Average Salary: $50,000 – $90,000 (more profitable in larger metro areas)

17. Photographer

Photographers can range from wedding photography to food photography and are in demand worldwide. One thing to note is that it can be quite an expensive upfront investment.

While it can take time to develop the skills needed to be a photographer, the benefits can be pretty rewarding. You are free to set your hours and increase your rate as you advance.

Average Salary: $30,000 – $80,000 (specialty photographers and those with a good reputation can command a much higher salary)

Check Out a Photography Masterclass on Udemy

18. Snow Removal

Snow removal is one of the oldest business ideas for teens looking to make a few extra dollars. If you are a bit more entrepreneurial, you can make a lot of extra dollars.

If you live in an area with lots of snow, you can focus on getting multiple clients. You then hire others to do the work while you drum up more business.

Try and parlay your snow removal clients into other work such as leaf removal or landscaping to make the most of things.

Average Salary: $25,000 – $50,000 (varies depending on location)

19. Copywriting

Copywriters focus on creating sales pages, advertisements, and other sales-focused copy to persuade people to take action.

Generally speaking, copywriters can earn more than content writers due to the sales-focused nature of the business.

Average Salary: $40,000 – $70,000 (top copywriters can earn mid to high-six figures)

20. Holiday Decorator

Though a seasonal business, holiday decorating can be quite profitable and is an excellent go-to for landscaping business owners to fill in the winter months.

If you don't mind getting on roofs and installing Christmas lights, holiday decorating could be a good business. Even better if you can get corporate clients with large buildings.

Average Salary: $5,000 – $15,000 per season (business owners in high-volume areas can clear as much as six figures)

21. Handmade Jewelry

Creating handmade jewelry can be an excellent way to make money through Etsy. Or, you can create your own eCommerce website via a service such as Shopify.

Top jewelry makers can even get into big-box retailers and jewelry stores, significantly increasing their earning potential.

Average Salary: $40,000 – $65,000 (recognized jewelry makers can command high six and seven figures)

Check Out Etsy for Inspiration

22. Babysitting

It may not seem like a real moneymaker, but babysitting in the U.S. alone is a $54 billion industry.

There are apps such as Urbansitter that can help you connect with families who need a babysitter. However, creating a reputable babysitting agency and bringing in clients is the real moneymaker.

Average Salary: $22,000 – $50,000 (agency owners can pull in six and even seven figures yearly)

23. Cake Maker

If you enjoy baking and have an artistic flair, a cake-making business could be an excellent choice to get started.

You will need a bit of upfront investment for equipment but should recoup costs quickly. With enough persistence and a large enough network of customers, you can turn a decent profit.

Average Salary: $40,000 – $70,000 (full-scale bakeries can make low to mid-six figures)

24. Leaf Removal

Another business that can pair well with landscaping and holiday lighting, leaf removal, can be lucrative in certain parts of the United States.

This is a seasonal business, so don't expect a full-time income, but you can do well during the season to get enough clients and workers.

Average Salary: Varies greatly depending on the location and conditions

25. Video Game Streaming

Streaming on websites like Twitch has become a big moneymaker for many teens worldwide. The best part of this model is that most teens are already playing video games, so there isn't much extra work to be done.

The key to making good money is to be consistent and develop a following of subscribers. As with YouTube, 90% of the job is marketing. You will need persistence and patience to really make decent money.

Streamers are usually paid through a mix of ad revenue and subscriber fees each month. The money can be pretty good if you set realistic goals and actively work to meet them.

Average Salary: $36,000 – $60,000 (streamers with high subscribers can earn more with sponsorships)

26. Etsy Seller

Etsy is to homemade crafts and goods as eBay was to the auction market when it first came out in the 90s. The platform is the place to add your artwork, craft jewelry, woodworking, and similar products.

If you are already making these products, Etsy can provide a great way to reach a vast market. The platform has over 81 million active buyers, and many of these people are repeat shoppers.

It may take you a while to get some traction, but top Etsy stores can make great earnings. Even better, some of the top earners have historically been teens.

Average Salary: Estimated to be $45,000 – $56,000

Many people have found taking an Etsy Masterclass to learn how to succeed with Etsy marketing, sales, and social media to be helpful.

Check Out an Etsy Masterclass

27. Academic Tutor

You don't have to be a subject matter expert to be a tutor. You only need to know more than the people you are tutoring.

If you can help classmates improve their test scores, increase their grade point average, or get through a challenging class, there is no reason you should do it for free.

While you may not be able to charge as much as someone with a master's degree in a topic, you will do fine if you can help people achieve the results they are looking for.

Average Salary: $12 – $15 per hour

28. Sewing Business

While it isn't a highly publicized business, sewing is a great way to help people save money and get more out of their clothing. If you enjoy sewing as a hobby, why not make money from it?

You can start with friends and family until you are comfortable handling work for customers. After you have some traction, you can more easily move to a broader audience by advertising your skills at places such as coffee shops or online through Craigslist.

One thing to note is that there may be a bit of upfront investment here if you start getting higher volume, so make sure you're balancing your funds wisely.

Average Salary: $18,000 – $36,000

29. eBay Store Owner

eBay is one of the largest eCommerce websites globally, with over 150 million active buyers worldwide. It's a great place to sell used and vintage items.

If you enjoy scouring garage sales or antique shops for products, this could be a great way to turn your hobby into an income-generating endeavor.

Before getting started, you need to be aware that the age requirement for selling on eBay is 18 years and older. So, for younger teens, you will need your parent or guardian to open an account and accept all funds into their PayPal account until you are the right age.

Average Salary: $25,000 – $45,000 (top sellers can earn in the low to mid-six figures)

Take a Look at eBay

30. Plant Sitter

Just as people need pet sitters, people with prized gardens and lots of plants need plant sitters.

You will be responsible for going by people's houses and watering their plants, laying fertilizer, and potentially pulling weeds or trimming bushes on a set schedule while the owners are out.

Likely, you won't make a fortune out of this, but it could give you seed money for beginning a more lucrative business. Start with the people you know who may need this service. Once you have a few clients, begin to branch out.

Average Salary: Varies greatly depending on the area (higher-income metro areas and suburbs will see better results)

31. Pet Cleanup Service

One of the least enjoyable parts of pet ownership is cleaning up after your furry friends. That's why people are usually willing to spend extra cash on hiring other people to clean their yards and take care of pet waste.

This is another business that is low-cost to get started. You only need a few buckets and a waste cleanup tool.

It's best to start with people you know and branch out from there. You can also approach pet owners in your immediate neighborhood to try and generate more business. Once you have an extensive network, you should have no trouble getting more clients.

Average Salary: Varies greatly depending on the area (higher-income suburbs will see better results)

Important Issues for A Young Entrepreneur to Consider

Starting a small business can be one of the most rewarding experiences for the right person. Selecting one of the right business ideas for teens is an excellent first step.

However, it will help if you understand a few things before going full steam ahead with your new great business idea.

Age Restrictions

A few offline and online business ideas for teens mentioned above will be age-restricted for older teens. While this doesn't mean you can't get into them as a younger teenager, it does mean you will need to work through a parent or guardian.

Most of this has to do with accepting money online and dealing with payment processors. Tools like PayPal only allow you to open an account once you are 18.

So, if you decide to operate a business online, or if you think you will need to accept cashless payments, you will need help from an adult.

Transportation

Some of the above local business ideas will require reliable transportation. Taking that one step further, ideas like lawn care will require transportation big enough to haul the equipment you need.

If you don't have reliable transportation or don't have the right kind of transportation, you may want to try a different business model.

Safety

While most of your interactions with people will be pain-free, always be aware of who you are doing business with. Ensure that you let an adult know who you are speaking with if you advertise on sites like Craigslist.

Never travel to a customer's house without letting someone know and, preferably, have someone with you if you are a younger teen.

Also, keep all records of conversations or transactions between customers. Make sure to take payment upfront if possible and agree on what work is to be done and what the customer is paying for.

What makes good business ideas for teens?

Business ideas for teens need to be a bit different than for young and older adults. Along with school and the potential lack of transportation, there are many limitations on what you can do and how you can accept payment.

Home-based or Easily Accessible

The most accessible business for young and older teens is one that you don't have to travel long distances to do. So, it stands to reason that online businesses will be a better option. Check out our guide on how to start an online business.

If you pick an offline business that requires meeting people in person, make sure your potential customers are easily accessible.

Think about your profit margins and remember that fuel and transportation can be expensive, even if a relative provides that transportation. The more you drive, the more you cut into your margins.

Flexible Hours

You don't want to try and start a business that will take up all of your time and potentially sabotage your schooling.

To be clear, all of the above business ideas for teens will require hard work, persistence, and patience. There is no way around this, and you should expect to commit regular time each day to get your business going.

However, you don't want to start something requiring you to work 15 hours each day, seven days a week. The above business ideas were chosen with flexibility in mind.

While some of them will require you to be at specific places during specific times, all of them provide a level of flexibility in terms of when clients can schedule with you and how much work you can take on.

Low Financial Investment

Another consideration when selecting the right business is how much upfront investment is required to get started.

All businesses will require some upfront financial investment. Some, such as pet cleanup, will be much lower than others, such as lawn care.

Consider what equipment you already have access to and what you need to buy before starting a business.

Make sure you also factor in ongoing expenses to get a decent idea of profit potential and whether it makes sense to start a business.

Final Thoughts On Business Ideas For teens

Being a teenager doesn't mean you're stuck with no options to earn extra money. It also doesn't mean you have to take on low-paying jobs such as being a grocery clerk to make money.

There are plenty of business ideas for teens with great potential for creating a decent income stream. The key is to consider your talents and available resources and make a clear action plan.

The most important resource you can have as a business owner is patience and persistence. Remember that getting your business going and regular clients coming in will take some time.

It's also crucial that you offer a consistently high-quality service to keep people coming back.

If you can manage these, there is no reason you shouldn't be able to turn a solid profit with a bit of hard work and understanding of your chosen field.

If you haven't already, check out our list of small business ideas for kids.

And for even more options for those older, check out our list of business ideas for young adults. 



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