There’s no age requirement when it comes to business success. Even simple, small business ideas for teens can go a long way.
For example, Fred DeLuca opened Subway when he was 17. By beating its 2021 sales projection by around $1.4 billion, Subway has established itself as the largest sandwich chain in the world today.
You can find success with your own business, too — you just need to find a place to start.
In this article, I’ve listed 12 of the best business ideas for future small business owners!
I’ll also discuss the advantages of being a teen entrepreneur and some tips on turning your teenage business idea into reality.
Let’s dive in!
Starting a business is an great idea if you have an entrepreneurial spirit or want to earn extra money. However, you need to choose a lucrative business suited for young entrepreneurs, requires small startup costs, and doesn’t consume too much of your time.
Here are 12 businesses you can easily start as a teenager.
Before anything else, you’ll need permission from your parents or legal guardian. With that said, your age will not be a factor in how much you can earn as an Amazon seller. Like with other sellers, your profits will depend on your products.
Teen Amazon sellers can earn decent profits on Amazon by buying products from a retailer and reselling them at a higher price. In other words, selling on Amazon as a teen is the same as starting a retail arbitrage business.
For example, if you buy an item for $3.00 at your local store, you can sell it on Amazon for around $12.00. With this pricing, expect to earn $4.00 per item, as you’ll have to pay for shipping and other fees. This method works best if you already know a place to source cheap products.
Alternatively, you can sell DIY or handcrafted items on Amazon Handmade.
Selling on Amazon Handmade starts with creating a Seller Central account. Once you have a verified Seller account, you can apply to be a member of Amazon’s artisan-only community.
Once you’re part of the community, you can start listing any of these handmade items:
- Beauty and personal care
- Shoes and handbags
- Pet and party supplies
- Sporting goods
Becoming an Amazon teen seller offers you flexibility and great earning potential. Amazon is an excellent platform for earning money while enjoying your free time, and you can make the experience even better by following these proven tips.
Selling used clothing is one of the most straightforward teen business ideas. This is perfect because the startup cost is lower than opening a traditional clothing store. Per Starter Story, you only need around $1,800 to launch a secondhand clothing store.
To become a successful secondhand clothing teen seller, follow these two basic tips.
Similar to other types of business, it’s important to determine your core customers. Knowing your target customers is essential since you’ll base your marketing plan on them. In return, your business will have more visibility.
Determining your target audience will give you information on what type of used clothing to sell. For example, if your core customers are your peers, you can consider selling used vintage designer clothing.
Since a secondhand clothing business isn’t as big as a retail clothing store, you need to exert some effort to bring in customers. So, the next step after knowing your customers is to market your used clothing business.
A cost-efficient marketing tactic you can do is giving fliers to local universities and community colleges, increasing your business’s awareness and pulling in customers.
If your budget is short, market to local retailers, especially those finding ways to sell any unsold merchandise. Marketing to local retailers will allow you to acquire their supply at lower prices. There’s even a chance that local businesses will donate their unsold items!
Opening a flower shop is a profitable business idea, especially during high-demand seasons like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day. But before you launch this business idea, it’s important that you know how to work with plants.
In addition, you need to know which flowers grow best during specific times of the year. If you possess these traits, the next step is to invest in buckets and soil, permission from your parents, and creativity.
According to AACAP, 90% of teenagers (13-17 years old) have used social media. Another report from Statista shows that 1 in 4 teens are constantly online, 56% surf the web several times a day, and only 5% go online several times a week.
If you belong to the 90%, then it’s safe to assume you have a working understanding of how to use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Consider starting a social media marketing business to capitalize on your social media knowledge. Social media marketing means becoming a social media influencer. An influencer’s main task is to promote your client’s products or services to your audience.
To ensure your business is credible, you should only promote products you personally use.
Launching a social media marketing business doesn’t need to be expensive. What you need is a strong following, which can be achieved with perseverance and a reliable device.
Blogging is not only thriving today, but it’s also one of the best small business ideas for teens. If you have a passion for writing, starting a personal blog is easy and cheap. The best part is that you can make it about you.
You can talk about how your days go, share experiences in school, or talk about topics you’re knowledgeable about. It’s best to find a niche in which you have plenty of experience that is also monetizable.
A successful blog will result in dividends for years to come. Here are other ways to earn from blogging:
- Feature and sell your products in your posts.
- Write about someone else’s product for a commission.
- Provide a writing service.
A report by Expert Market states that about 71% of small businesses have a website. However, having a website doesn’t automatically make a business credible. Business owners should also optimize their website’s design for maximum conversions and leads.
A report states that 38% of web users will stop interacting with a business if they have a poorly designed website. Businesses, particularly startups, will always look for a web designer as their site’s design affects how prospects view their website.
If you have a knack for website design, you can offer your services to businesses.
The good thing about starting a web design service is you can charge per hour or have a monthly retainer. In either case, you can estimate how much you’re earning per month on average, allowing you to manage your finances better.
If you love photography and photo editing, you should consider starting an online photo editing business. By pairing your skills with strong social media connections, finding clients won’t be difficult.
Being a good photo editor doesn’t require expert photography skills. You can learn about photography while managing an online photography business.
To start an online photo editing business, you need to invest in photo editing software and a quality computer. To start a website and advertise your company, you’ll need around $5,000.
If you don’t have a portfolio yet, you can start offering your services to your school. Photo editing businesses can be lucrative, but it starts with dedication and consistency.
A gift wrapping service is one of the best small business ideas for teens looking to earn a few bucks during the holiday. Aside from being doable at home, this type of business only demands a few hours of your time.
You can also easily transition from seasonal work to a full-time gift wrapping service provider. In the case of the latter, you will need to invest in equipment and a booth to speed up your gift-wrapping processes.
If you’re a talented seamstress and are interested in fashion, you likely own a sewing machine. In this scenario, starting a sewing business will make a lot of sense — not to mention it requires low startup costs.
Since you’re just starting, you can offer your peers simple clothing repairs and alterations. You can even help with creating costume designs for school plays or your school’s sports team.
Displaying your talents also grows your reputation. As a result, you can expand your customer base and earning potential.
Soap-making is a good place to start because it’s easy to learn the skills to produce soap. However, it takes some time to practice and master the craft.
Launching a soap-making business involves:
- Purchasing raw materials.
- Investing in soap-making equipment.
- Making your business’ signature fragrances.
- Marketing your products.
Materials and equipment may cost you around $500. You might also need some money to market your product. If you plan to sell online, be prepared to pay for web design services.
Your soap-making business’ earning potential will depend on your soap’s quality and reputation. However, your small business can steadily grow if you can acquire many repeat customers.
Are you living a minimalist lifestyle? Do you find organizing tasks relaxing? If so, consider starting a professional organizing business.
In addition to having great organizational skills, you also need to have compassion and a pleasing personality. The latter is essential, as clients want an organizer who they can feel comfortable welcoming into their homes. Initial costs will primarily go to advertising efforts.
Jewelry making is not only a great business idea but will also help you feel relaxed and content. This can help make teenage life less stressful.
Selling handmade jewelry is a good business idea because you only need basic tools and supplies, like the following:
- Chain nose pliers
- Round nose pliers
- Wire cutters
- The beading material of your choice
It’s true that with age and experience comes wisdom. However, being a teen entrepreneur has some advantages as well.
Most schools don’t teach students basic financial management, and 72% of parents tend to avoid talking about financial literacy. As a result, 75% of American teens aren’t confident about managing their finances, according to Annuity.
Being a financially literate teen won’t only teach you how to manage your money, but it’ll also allow you to spot financial opportunities. Once you’re financially stable, you can use your financial literacy to look for trending investment opportunities.
The biggest advantage that teenagers have over adults is time. Later in your life, when responsibilities start to pile up, there’s a good chance that you’ll no longer possess this luxury.
The flexible nature of these businesses allows you to determine what business idea works for you. In other words, being a teen entrepreneur allows you to change your career direction without suffering heavy consequences.
Most teenagers don’t have to worry about major living expenses like rent, utilities, and groceries yet. This is a huge advantage since you can use the majority of your profits to help expand your business.
On the other hand, adult business owners allocate sizable portions of their profits for financial responsibilities, slowing down their small business growth.
Your teenage life often revolves around learning more about yourself. Starting a business as a teenager won’t only give you additional income but also gives you an opportunity to explore your interests.
Whether you want to sell handmade jewelry or start a real arbitrage business, you can let your creative ideas flow.
If you’re having difficulty choosing a small business idea, don’t fret.
In this section, I’ll share some tips on choosing the right type of business, as well as some pointers on successfully launching your business idea.
To find the right type of business for you, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my areas of expertise?
- What am I passionate about?
- What are the products, services, and brands I enjoy interacting with?
- Which industry can I make a difference in?
After answering these questions, ask yourself, “What type of company do I want to start?” This question can be answered by the following:
- Manufacturing: Starting a DIY jewelry store, building birdhouses, or launching a candle-making business.
- Merchandise: Selling used clothing, reselling sports or concert tickets, or hosting garage sales.
- Services: Offering music lessons, tech support, or babysitting.
It’s great to have cool business ideas, but always remember the importance of clients or customers. Even if you have the best products displayed in your physical store or online business, it will fail without clients.
To find clients, you need to allocate time and money. Dedicate time to building your own website, determining your target audience, and researching the best marketing strategies.
Don’t forget to offer great customer service to build a loyal following for your business.
According to most regional and national laws, minors can’t legally start a business without permission from their guardians. Minors are also not legally allowed to sign binding contracts in most locations.
If you’re still a minor, your parents are legally liable for your actions. This is why PayPal, Shopify, Amazon, and other services, require you to be at least 18 before you can sign up.
As a teen, you have time on your side. You can always learn from your mistakes and keep building your business. As you gain experience, you may have a successful business at a younger age than most business owners.
What I listed above were only some of the possibilities available in the world.
Even as a teen, if you have support from knowledgeable people, you can try going some of these:
- Tech support business
- Graphic design business
- Lawn care business
- Own cake making business
- Car washing business
- Test prep business
- Makeup artist business
- Food related business
So feel free to experiment. Use the knowledge you gain over time to keep improving your business, and don’t be afraid to trust your instincts while your business grows.